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December 2008


Find out why these runners are dressed for the holidays and hanging out in the ice & snow... See page 2 for more.

Local business to focus on community outreach in 2009 Program attracts local philanthropist By Melissa Renahan


“Real estate needs a facelift,” jokes Susan Acker, head of residential sales at Syracuse Realty Group. What’s not a joke is the group’s plan to give that facelift on a local level by opening a 90day “Commission Free Home Sale” competition to all resident homeowners of Onondaga County. This, along with the company’s pledge to donate a percentage of all of their home sales this year to Coaches vs. Cancer, has garnered the support and attention of Syracuse University mens basketball coach Jim Boeheim. “Everything he does involves giving back to the community and local businesses,” said Mike Bristol, publicist for both Boeheim and Coaches vs. Cancer. Boeheim, who is known as much for his off the court charitable efforts as his game time coaching, uses his clout to endorse worthy causes that will benefit the community. “Getting involved with this was a natural choice.” “We are excited to announce our partnership with coach,” said Ozzie Crisalli, who co-owns Syracuse Realty with Michael Arcuri. “As well as introduce a program where we will help a homeowner who needs to sell their home in this challenging real estate market.” A commision free sale means that Syracuse Realty Group will choose a winner from the entries

Syracuse Realty is making a difference where it counts. Pictured above from left to right: Mattalie Frigon, Rosalie Salce, Pete Moziak, Robert Acker, Susan Acker, Lee Harrington, James Howe, Ozzie Crisalli, Coach Jim Boeheim, Juli Boeheim, Mike Arcuri, Katherine Moran, Susan Potter, Angela Somers.

received and then market and stage the home, host open houses, and not collect commission on the sale. Typically the listing realtor’s commission starts at 3.5 percent – equaling a savings of $3,500 per $100,000 home cost. If another realtor

In This Issue: Santa Sightings............... Pg 2 Three Rivers Update........Pg 3 Inside Town Hall...............Pg 5 School News...................Pg 6 New Hafners Open........Pg 10 In Business.....................Pg 11 In Good Faith.................Pg 12 Local Success...............Pg 13 Out to Eat.......................Pg 14 Local Calendar.............Pg 16 Celebrate Chanukah...Pg 17 Holiday Realty...............Pg 18 Classifieds....................Pg 19

Do you have news? Contact your editor, Melissa Renahan, at

works with the buyers they will be encouraged to donate to the cause by waiving a portion, or all, of their commission. If an agent from Syracuse Please see Community, page 16

Giving that can cost less, but mean more By Susan E. Lindsley

December is a great month, ask any child. Visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads, stockings being hung, menorahs being lit, the arrival of presents and of course, a long vacation from school. Many adults feel like children during this season also. We drive around the neighborhoods with the children in the car to “ooh” and “aah” at the decorated houses. We plan, or attend, events that bring people together, even buying little trinkets to exchange. We even stand in line for hours at the malls to get just the perfect gift for that special someone in our lives. People are friendlier, smile more,

and even hold open doors for each other in a wonderful life kind of way. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, as the song goes, and for many people it is the time of year to help out their neighbors. If you have children in school, you are familiar with all the different donation events available in our local schools. For example, in the Baldwinsville School District, Van Buren Elementary has a hats and mitten drive for PEACE Inc. The Baker High School National Honor Society is having a toy drive to benefit the Vera House. They are accepting new, unwrapped toys to Please see Giving, page 9

Clay Insider, 2

Moyers Corners Fire Department’s annual Santa Claus fire engine tour Santa Claus has once again agreed to tour the Moyers Corners Fire Department Battalion One area. He is very excited to see all the children and spend time with his favorite helpers: the firefighters. He hopes that you will be waiting at the ‘Santa Stops’ in your neighborhood on Saturday, Dec. 20, to celebrate with him. Santa and his helpers will be giving out candy canes, playing holiday songs, blaring the sirens and displaying the Fire emergency lights. Santa Stops and times are as follows: 8:30 - 8:43 a.m.: Pinegate South and Rusty Pine 8:45 - 8:58 a.m.: Pinegate South and Blue Beech Lane 9 - 9:13 a.m.: Pinegate North and Pinyon Pine Path 9:15 - 9:30 a.m.: Pinegate North and Lace Bark Lane 9:35 - 9:48 a.m.: Cottonwood Court and Pisces Circle 9:50 - 10:03 a.m.: Midway around Coconut Tree Drive 10:05 - 10:18 a.m.: Fairway Drive East and Molson Way 10:20 - 10:35 a.m.: Midway around Mayfair Circle 10:45 - 11:03 a.m.: 7961 Orion Path, near corner of Luna Course 11:05 - 11:23 a.m.: Princess Path and Hollow Brook Drive 11:25 - 11:45 a.m.: Steppingstone Path and Turtle Cove Road 11:50 - 12:03 p.m.: Balboa Drive and Silverado Road 12:05 - 12:18 p.m.: Rancho Park Drive and Teton Lane 12:20 - 12:33 p.m.: Oldbury Road and Scotia Lane 12:35 - 12:50 p.m.: Mesa Lane and Kidron Lane 12:55 - 1:08 p.m.: Oakwood Drive and Dampier Circle 1:10 - 1:23 p.m.: Dampier Circle and Esperance Trail 1:25 - 1:38 p.m.: Midway around Esperance Trail 1:40 - 1:55 p.m.: Dampier Circle and Provo Drive

December 2008

Annual Jingle Bell Run for arthritis in Liverpool has record attendance The event held at Onondaga Lake Park took place on a bright and chilly Sunday morning and included a 5k, 10k, and Candy Cane Fun Run for kids. Runners and walkers all came out for a good cause - bundled, festively costumed and trying to keep warm with a smile and good cheer. Organizers said that attendace was up 40 percent from last year and that over 1,000 runners were out on the track at once despite the icy conditions. All proceeds raised go the Arthri-

tis Foundation to help the 46 million Americans suffering from the disability, 300,000 of which are children.

As always these times may change if Santa’s helpers are called to duty to help someone who is in trouble. We hope to see you at one of our Santa Stops. Please be sure to drive and park carefully on our neighborhood streets during these times.




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Clay Insider, 3

Miles of waterfront just outside our front doors Status of the Three Rivers development in Clay By Melissa Renahan There are approximately 70 acres of land owned by Clay that most people either do not know about or haven’t thought about in years. They are north of Route 31 at the junction of the Oneida, Seneca and Oswego Rivers, the area known as Three Rivers. For years the area was best known for its nightclub scene at the Three Rivers Inn. With “Dom” Bruno as the manager it became a popular entertainment spot and featured well-known artists of stage, screen and radio fame like Cab Calloway, Frank Sinatra and the McGuire Sisters. Unfortunately, 35 years ago this December, the inn burned and for nearly three decades its remains sat on the riverbanks. Adjacent to that land, along Maider Road, was where Cibro Cement factory had done business for almost 40 years. Their property included close to 65 acres and when they declared bankruptcy 10 years ago they sold the land to the town of Clay for $1. Next, Clay purchased the land where the inn and motel had stood with money from the Community Development Fund, which is a federal program run by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and at no cost to resident taxpayers. Once all of the land was acquired (70 acres in total), the daunting task of testing the water for contamination, cleaning and demolitions began. Clay then applied for a Brownfields grant through the State Department of Environmental Conservation and was awarded it. The EPA defines those grants as such: Brownfields grants may be used to address sites contaminated by petroleum and hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants (including hazardous substances co-mingled with petroleum). The grant ensures that the town will be reimbursed for 90 percent of what they spend to clean up the property upon the state’s certification that the land has been remediated. A Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan has been drafted over the past year by the town board and details the town’s intentions for all of the waterfront property in Clay. The plan lists not only possible building and development, but also preservation of

the waterways and their history. The LWRP will be submitted to the New York Department of State, specifically the Division of Coastal Waterways, following a public informational hearing on Dec. 1 and is a major step in what may seem like

a never-ending march. Out of the 27 miles of waterfront property in Clay, the Three Rivers spot holds the highest priority – as well as the most potential. “A completed LWRP will provide the town, as well as state and federal sources, with a footprint of the existing assets and a blueprint for maximizing the potential of the waterfront for our town and its residents,” ex-

plains Naomi Bray, town board liaison for the project. She adds that with the LWRP doors will open a lot easier and progress will come faster. Progress could include a mix of residential, low-level retail, business offices, restaurants and a public marina with docks. By developing this new area the town hopes to “make Three Rivers into a destination point for residents and travelers.”

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Mon. 1-7, tues.-Fri. 10-7, sat. & sun. 11-6 Prices, financing, and offers subject to change without notice. See a sales representative for details. “We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. We encourage and support an affirmative advertising and marketing program in which there are no barriers to obtaining housing because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.”

Clay Insider, 4

December 2008

Bottom of the ninth, tied score, Announcements & corrections In our November issue we ran an article on the Seneca River let’s hit the stores and shop North Little League which misreported two items. Below is the By Melissa Renahan

Shopping is a woman thing. It’s a contact sport like football.  Women enjoy the scrimmage, the noisy crowds, the danger of being trampled to death, and the ecstasy of the purchase.  ~Erma Bombeck The old joke is that someone is bound to get car air-fresheners on Christmas Day because someone else waited till the last minute and had to shop at the gas station. Likewise, if you’ve given it any forethought, or if you’ve actually found yourself there being pushed and shoved while examining piles of unfolded sweaters, you avoid the mall on Christmas Eve; especially as 6 p.m. draws closer. I’ll admit that the debate of why Christmas involves giving so many presents has never interested me, mainly because there is nothing I like to do more than give presents. So it should come as no surprise that shopping for presents is a year-round pursuit in my life, one that I view as a competition. Therefore the start of the Christmas season reverberates like a gun going off at the starting line in my head. It is the pinnacle of my shopping efforts since it involves nearly everyone I know. There are long, detailed lists, strategized trips to various stores and early purchases of bright, shiny paper. Getting the best deals, getting the right gift (be it small or large) and getting it first are the essential goals and the prize is mere satisfaction.

By the time Dec. 1 arrives, I am at fourth and goal, there is a power play on the ice and I am ready to take a final lap. As of this printing, my Christmas shopping is 99 percent done and that may anger many of you reading this (including my mother and mother-in-law.) Rest assured, being this prepared does have its drawbacks since I often change my mind about gifts I bought four months early. This results in many vocal Rainmanesque debates with myself where I list the person’s attributes and attempt to determine which gift fits best. Yes, I realize that perhaps I over think things... I also usually wind up buying something last minute despite my best-laid plans. Whether it is the new neighbor who thoughtfully drops off cookies or the co-worker who leaves a wrapped package on my desk with two days left before the holiday break, I do wind up at the mall. The good news though is that I minimize that time and that stress – not to mention I spend less time in lines – because I start early. As of now you have about 24 days left, so get out there! There is still plenty of time on the play clock and the stores are more than ready to assist with sales and wrapping. Plus you know as well as I do that they start earlier every year – and as the old saying goes, if you can’t beat them, join ‘em!

correct information: Firstly, the New York State District 8 Little League Fall Ball program was established in 2001. It’s not a newly established program. Secondly, SRNLL actual registration cost for Fall Ball is $45 per player, not $100.

Insider Babysitter List Rachel Shipley 699-6296 or 515-1432 16 years old, $5/hour Available Mon-Fri 3pm-9pm, Sat 10am-9pm & Sun 10am-6pm. Elea Barker 350-7435 25 years old and attending Bryant and Stratton. Mon & Wed 3- 9 pm, Tues & Thurs 11am- 11-pm, Fri all day Denise Sakran 451-8586 Over 18 and Red Cross certified Can care for 2-3 children in my home. To be on the list you must be at least 14 years of age and Red Cross certified. You may not own a child care business or operate a daycare service. If you are under 18 years of age we recommend that a parent be present when meeting the family looking to hire you. If you are interested please send your name, phone number, availability and rates to We will publish and add to the list each month. There is no charge for this listing.


We apologize for any inconvenience that the closing of the former Dealmaker Ford has caused you. We at Fred Raynor Ford Lincoln Mercury would like to offer you our help in this trying time.

5901 Firestone Drive Syracuse, NY 13206 Fax 434-8883

Melissa Renahan Editor 434-8889 ext 318

Should you require any assistance with your Ford Lincoln or Mercury products, be it for warranty, parts or service, we are currently taking steps in our parts and service departments to serve you.

Please feel free to call Dennis, Kyle or Tom for your service or warranty appointment, or contact Dave or Randy in our parts department. We are located just 15 minutes north on Route 3 West in Fulton. Take Route 481 North, then take a left onto Route 3 at Wendy’s. We are two miles out on the right hand side.

Stop by for a cup of coffee and allow us to introduce ourselves, or feel free to call us at 592-2222. You can also visit our website at With Fred Raynor Ford Lincoln Mercury, you get a family dealer that has been serving Central New York for over 40 years, has been awarded every Customer Satisfaction award ever offered and appreciates you, for you and your business. We will also be here for many years to come. Please feel free to stop by and say hello.

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December 2008

I nside

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Clay Insider, 5

Dealing with Clay’s snow, one day & road at a time By Paul Lyboult

By Florence Drago, Recreation Department

The recreation staff provides free or affordable leisure activities for resident families. During the school year, we operate three free School/Recreation Centers at Bear Road Elementary, Elmcrest Elementary and Wetzel Road Elementary. Through this cooperative effort between the school and our department, the best possible use of existing facilities is obtained for recreational services. Staff from the recreation department supervises programs of community interest. (Schedule on our web site and in this edition). In addition to the Community School Program, we also offer 25 or more paid programs from the arts to sports and interest in between with professional instructors. The recreation department also oversees five townwide parks: Clay South (7200 Buckley Road); Clay Central (7858 Henry Clay Blvd. & 4821 Wetzel Road entrances); Clay North (4483 Route 31); Clay Historical Park (4939 Route 31) and Meltzer Park (8400 Stearns Road); along with 27 neighborhood parks. At the townwide parks, we offer our own Adult Softball League - fall and spring; permit/schedule field use to area youth organizations, and permits for pavilion usage. We operate summer playground programs for youth at the local schools and we have a traveling Game mobile that visits the neighborhood parks. Unique to our department is the sponsorship of 30 or so sport camps utilizing Liverpool and North Syracuse school coaches and their staff, in addition to 20 additional programs for

both Adults and Youth. Our office includes Recreation Commissioner, Wayne Morris, a 35-year veteran, and me, a 16-year veteran of the department. Together we answer phones, set-up programs, register programs, accept payments, handle problems that arise from programs, youth leagues and vandalism to the parks, we issue permits, apply and initiate paperwork for grants, annual reports and budget. Additionally, I do all the program deposits and accounting, payroll, maintenance of the web site ( - Recreation Dept.), advertising, brochures, flyers and correspondence. Our office also has Senior Leisure Coordinator Chrissy Clancy, who oversees the ‘Center’ (4948 Rte. 31) programs and trips. Chrissy is also the director of our drama programs and her Royal Fairy Tale Theatre has had a home with us for 17 years. In January she hosts a free family ‘Froste Faire’, Jan. 24 from noon to 4 p.m., at Clay Historical Park and in the summer a Pirate Day Festival. Scott Paulding is the recreation supervisor and adult league coordinator. He oversees the Recreation Community School and summer playground staff and adult leagues that include basketball, softball and volleyball. Our recreation staff consists of recreation leaders and recreation aides and can be between 20 to 40 employees. We have two Clay historians: Dorothy Heller and Harold Baker, who can be reached at Please call our office at 652-3800 x 139 or email with any questions.

On most mornings from now until April the bright white banks of snow outside will surely blind the eyes. Not to fear, the town of Clay’s highway department is here! Tom Weaver, a Clay resident all of his life, heads the department as superintendent, a position which he has held since 2005. Prior to that he was behind the wheel of a snowplow keeping the roads clear for nearly 20 years. He described his work experience as “enjoyable” and understands the dedication and work it takes to take care of Clay, especially during the winter months. There is a total of 17 trucks that plow and each has its own specific route, which generally takes a little over three hours to complete depending on the weather. If the snow is wet and heavy a route could take over four hours to complete, whereas fluffy light snow could take under three hours. While each plow can vary, more than 10,000 tons of salt are used on the roads

here each year. The entire town is checked after snow arrives and the parts that are in the worst condition will be taken care of first. Some areas will be plowed, while others may just be salted, it all depends on the conditions. The amount of snow, type of snow and wind are some of the variables taken into account. Terrible blizzards can keep plows off the road, which would leave just some of the main roads open. “If it snows that hard, we are just wasting time and resources,” Weaver said when asked about rare, serious storms. “So we’ll wait.” The average winter in Clay will yield about 120 inches of snow. There are 160 miles of town road (320 when plowed in both directions) and an additional 15 to 30 miles of country road that are taken care of. Most of the snow falls in the northern part of Clay, much of which can be attributed to the lake effect. Please see Snow, page 14

Join us Sundays

12/7 “What Really Happened Christmas Day” 10:00 Youth Christmas Program 12/14 “We Journey Together” 2:00 Christmas Cup of Tea 12/21 “Mary, Did You Know?” 10:00 Choir Cantata

Join us Christmas Eve

12/24 Christmas Eve Services 4:30 Family friendly service with story & songs 7:00 Traditional Candlelight service with hymns & carols 11/29-12/14 Christmas Spray Sale Benefits local mission projects. Contact church office or look for us at the CNY 11/29, 12/6 & 12/13 Regional Market

7444 Buckley Road N. Syracuse • 458-0393

Clay Insider, 6

Clean Up For The Holidays

B’ville lacrosse players sign letters of intent for 2009

December 2008

Two point playoff loss closes disappointing season for CNS By Paul Lyboult

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Quincey Spagnoletti (left) and Kara Moschetti are joined by their coach Doug Rowe as they sign letters of intent to play college lacrosse.

Two Baldwinsville girls’ varsity lacrosse players have signed letters of intent to play college lacrosse next fall. Kara Moschetti has signed a letter of intent to play lacrosse for the University of Richmond. She has been a member of Baldwinsville’s girls’ varsity lacrosse team for three years and has been involved with club lacrosse (CNYELC) since seventh grade. Moschetti has been a scoring leader for Baldwinsville for two years and was a Baldwinsville nominee for All American in 2008. Quincey Spagnoletti has signed a letter of intent to play lacrosse for Colgate University. She has played varsity lacrosse for three years and club lacrosse (CNYELC) since seventh grade. Spagnoletti led Baldwinsville in goals in 2008. She was a Baldwinsville nominee for All American in 2008. Moschetti and Spagnoletti are two of the girls’ varsity lacrosse team’s 2009 tri-captains. They are coached by Doug Rowe.

For the CNS North Stars this season was filled with so much promise, unfortunately for the team and its fans those promises were very hard to keep. After starting the season 4-0 the North Stars dropped their next three games, scoring seven points or less in each loss, before they limped into the playoffs in their Oct. 25 game vs. Henninger. The North Stars were considered heavy underdogs entering the game and found themselves behind 16-3 at halftime. North Stars head coach Steve Ellis told his team at the half to leave it all out on the field and “go down swinging,” and that’s just what they did. CNS trailed 24-22 and a last ditch effort to tie the game was unsuccessful. CNS was down 24-16, but following a blocked punt and a touchdown with 20 seconds left in the game the North Stars managed to come within two. Ryan Lacey’s pass of desperation sailed through the back of the end zone and guaranteed a win for the Black Knights. Henninger improved their record on the year to 7-1 and advanced.

Liverpool’s football season ends in dramatic fashion By Paul Lyboult

There’s a lot of talk about home loan prequalification by mortgage brokers and real estate agents. There is a difference between loan PREQUALIFICATION and PRE-APPROVAL. Pre-qualification, which in today’s marketplace is usually done by mortgage brokers, means working with the buyer to determine how much they can afford and which loans are most likely to be available to them. Loan prequalification can save a buyer time and money, and can even be a bargaining tool with a seller; however, it is not the same as loan ‘pre-approval’. The mortgage broker can also issue a pre-qualification letter. PRE-APPROVAL means that the lender has definitely committed to lending the buyer the money once the house itself is approved. Since it is a much stronger pledge, it is a much more valuable negotiating tool. Only a lender can give a pre-approval, but your Realtor may be able to push through pre-approval from underwriters with as little as a phone call. So when you hear someone talking about a pre-approval make sure that it is a lender pre-approval, and know that your realtor can help. Donna Rausch is the Branch Manager of the Liverpool office of RealtyUSA. Donna is an Associate Broker, holds the prestigious Certified Residential Specialist designation as well as the Seniors Real Estate designation. Donna and her 37 experienced associates can be reached at 622-2111 x124 for additional information regarding any Real Estate Matter.

Liverpool was a team without a home field that was forced to play every single game on the road and that seemed to spell disaster from the very beginning. So what began as a roller coaster ride of a season ended in much the same way with Liverpool losing the Class AA semifinals in an overtime thriller at the hands of West Genesee. The game took place Nov. 1 with West Genny taking the game 4134. For the Wildcats it meant an advancement to the sectional finals and for Liverpool it has them looking to next year. “I told my team I love them and I’m very proud of what they did,” Liverpool head coach Dave Mancusso said following the loss which left Liverpool at 5-4 for the year. Mancusso’s team led 20-7 at halftime but failed to stop the Wildcats explosive offense. A big factor in the loss may have been Liverpool’s penalties throughout the game, which

Liverpool wide receiver Justin Albro (84) fights for a couple more yards in the Class AA semifinal against West Genesee.

Mancuso described as “crippling,” but despite the loss the team nearly advanced to the sectional championship. The previous week Liverpool manhandled Baldwinsville 35-8 and looked to continue the momentum through the

rest of the playoffs but failed to do so in the loss. Losing a game like this, especially after leading by 13, is devastating but shows the true colors of the team and their heart during difficult times.

December 2008

Kids reading over lunch

Loss concludes B’ville playoff run

On Nov. 4, Palmer Elementary School’s PTA sponsored a book exchange during all of the school’s lunch periods. Every student who donated at least one gently used book was able to choose a book to bring home. The book exchange was held to motivate students to read, particularly as the school hold’s its Parents As Reading Partners (PARP) program that runs until the end of January. Students are encouraged to read every day by themselves or with an adult. This year’s theme is “The Magic of Reading.”

By Paul Lyboult

First-grader Ashlyn Popiwczak, center, knows a good book when she sees one. She sorts through books at Palmer Elementary School’s book exchange with her classmates (left) Emma Brushingham and Dakota Conert.

The Baldwinsville Central School District is seeking input from district residents as it develops the 2009-2010 budget. The board of education has revised its budget process to provide community members with greater opportunities to ask questions, voice their concerns, and make suggestions as each component of the budget is examined. “Community input is vital in the development of a fiscally responsible budget,” said Superintendent Jeanne Dangle. At each meeting district administrators will present a different component of the budget to the board. Components include transportation, facilities, debt service, athletics, special education and instructional. After the board discusses the component, the discussion will be open to the public. Residents will be able to direct their questions and comments to administrators and board members. Following each meeting, residents’ questions with answers will be posted on the district’s website at “Community members are encouraged to attend these meetings to ask questions, recommend changes, and provide suggestions to the Board as each budget topic is discussed and reviewed,” said Superintendent Dangle. She noted that time will be allotted

at each meeting to review the previous meeting’s discussion, as well as to answer further questions and to clarify details on the budget component previously discussed. The schedule of board of education meetings are scheduled for Jan. 26, Feb. 9. Feb. 23, March 2, March 16, March 30 and April 6. Topics for each will be posted on the website. Board meetings begin at 7 p.m. and are usually held in the cafeteria of Durgee Junior High School. Please call the superintendent’s office at 638-6043 the Friday before a meeting to verify the location. During the month of January, Dangle will hold three public budget input sessions to gather responses to the following three questions: • What are we currently doing that we should continue to do? • What are we currently doing that we should consider not doing? • What are we not doing currently that we should consider doing? These meetings will be held on: • Jan. 7 - 7 p.m., Baldwinsville Public Library, Large Community Room; • Jan. 15 – 7 p.m., Durgee Jun ior High School, Cafeteria; and • Jan. 22 – 7 p.m., Ray Middle School, Cafeteria

A dramatic 27-26 win Oct. 17 over Corcoran pushed the Bees into the playoffs, only to see that playoff run end rather abruptly the following weekend against Liverpool. That win gave the Bees a record of 5-2 and Baldwinsville looked to improve as they faced Liverpool in the Class AA quarterfinal. Liverpool had crushed Baldwinsville 32-12 in the season opener, but later forfeited the game after it was discovered that they used an ineligible player. The Warriors entered the game looking for redemption and shredded Baldwinsville 35-8 to advance to the class semifinals. B’ville failed to contain running back Greg Bell, who rushed for 206 yards and 3 touchdowns. Bell’s 60-yard run on the very first offensive series and helped the Warriors take a commanding 14-0 lead early in the game. Bees’ quarterback Niko Manning scored Baldwinsville’s sole touchdown and star player Malik Burks was held to just 85 yards rushing in the loss. Burks had a spectacular year despite this loss, leading all of class AA with 1,255 rushing yards.

Clay Insider, 7

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Clay Insider, 8

NSCSD’s artful achievers

Pictured (left to right) with their artwork: Hannah Winnewisser, Rachel Oakes, Mallory DeSousa and Shannon Hanmer

Four students from Gillette Road Middle School have been chosen to represent the school in the New York State Art Teachers Association (NYSATA) 19th Annual Art Exhibit at the Legislative Office Building in Albany from Jan. 16 to 24. There will also be a reception with state Senator John A. DeFrancisco, for teachers, students and parents on Tuesday, Jan. 20. DeFrancisco, who encourages participation in the event, will meet with students during the reception. Each year, the NYSATA invites art

educators who are members, to submit artwork from two outstanding students. The artists chosen to represent Gillette Road Middle School at the 2009 exhibit are seventh graders, Mallory DeSousa and Shannon Hanmer (students of Art Teacher, Virginia Palumbo) and fifth graders Rachel Oakes and Hannah Winnewisser (students of Art Teacher, Beth Abbott). For more information about the New York State Art Teachers Association or the January exhibit, visit their website at

December 2008

Elmcrest Elementary honors Veterans Every year, the Elmcrest Elementary sixthgrade classes take some time to honor the many veterans who have served in the Armed Forces. Prior to Veterans Day, each sixth-grader was asked to interview a veteran and write an essay about him or her. Then, during a special ceremony, the students share their essays with the veterans and fellow classmates. This year’s ceremony began with the EE Band playing “The Star-Spangled Banner” led by music teacher Frank Grosso and an opening welcome by Principal Daphne Valentine. After the students read their essays, everyone reassembled in the cafeteria where the students, with music teacher Linda Nolan at the piano, sang “God Bless the USA” and “God Bless America” while a slideshow featuring photos of the veterans was played. A reception was held immediately afterward.

Sixth-grader Nick Aemmer reads an essay about his uncle, Dennis Buschle (USMC).

Fourth annual WRE/Red Cross project Wetzel Road Elementary is supporting the American Red Cross’ Hurricane Fund by selling postcards featuring “Plant Life in Louisiana.” The plant life artwork, which includes watercolors, pastels and collages,was created by WRE students as part of the fourth annual Red Cross Partnership Project, organized by art teacher Clint Niedzwiecki. The hope is that the 2008 edition of this project will raise $3,000 to help

support the hurricane fund. Sets of 12 assorted postcards are available for $5 each from the WRE/Red Cross Project, Wetzel Road Elementary School, 4246 Wetzel Road, Liverpool, New York 13090. For more information, or to place an order, e-mail Niedzwiecki at Clint_Niedzwiecki@liverpool.k12. The postcard sale begins Dec. 1 and continues throughout the year.

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December 2008


from page 1

be donated. In the Liverpool School District, Morgan Road Elementary has a giving tree where families can donate a variety of items needed. If you are affiliated with any church or religious group you will find many outreach programs. Although most churches have outreach programs throughout the year like food pantries, December seems to be a time where the need is greater. At St. John’s Church in Liverpool there are many things going on including a giving tree, where people can pick gifts that are needed, to a joint service project which has third to sixth grade students and their parents making 80 fleece quilts for the neonatal units of area hospitals. Not to say that the opportunities for giving are limited to churches and schools. They are all around our community and most of these organizations help others throughout the year. The Rescue Mission of Syracuse serves 600 meals every day. They also help people with clothes and a place to stay. There are opportunities to volunteer your time or there is the appeal

that arrived in our mailboxes recently. The scan away hunger campaign that works through the supermarkets is an easy donation too. You just pull a tag and have the cashier add $2.03 to your grocery bill. Every little bit helps. If you would like more information, their website is The Samaritan Center is another organization helping to feed people everyday. They serve between 200 and 300 meals a day. Many families volunteer there on a regular basis and different community groups sign up throughout the year. For more information, visit their website at www. Operation Good Things is the campaign by Channel 9 that will benefit many hospitals and health centers in Central New York. The complete list of who benefits and suggestions for donations can be found on their website at Of course there is also the Salvation Army whose volunteers have already started clanging bells and soliciting donations for their big, red kettles nationwide. They also run another program during the holiday season named the Angel Tree which serves as a giving tree for new toys and cloth-

Clay Insider, 9

Holiday meal delivery

A Salvation Army Angel Tree and donation kettle inside the Great Northern Mall attracts shoppers.

ing items. There is an Angel Tree in both the Great Northern Mall and Carousel Center. There are so many opportunities to give and help out one another. We may not be able to stamp out hunger worldwide, but maybe we can make the holiday a little brighter in our own town. It could be adding an extra can or two to your grocery cart or donating at the register. It could be buying an extra Barbie doll while shopping for your own kids. It could be donating a coat or other warm clothes that have been outgrown by our families. The little things do add up.

Once again the Rescue Mission of Syracuse will provide holiday meals to the homebound. There will be many, many volunteers coming together to prepare and deliver free meals on Christmas. This will be a great time for all, especially for those who receive a delicious meal from a caring person on the holiday. If you are ordering for someone other than yourself, please remember to tell the individuals that they will be receiving a home delivered meal. Occasionally, a meal recipient won’t be home or is unwilling to accept the meal because they did not know a meal had been ordered for them. Please do not register for a meal more than once. Information will be accepted up until Dec. 19 for Christmas meals. Please try to honor the deadline, as they need time to organize the delivery routes. Homebound seniors in the town of Clay can call Chrissy Clancy at 652-3800 ext. 137, and she will submit the delivery information to the Rescue Mission for you. Or you can call them yourself at the Holiday Phone Center at 701-3898.



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Clay Insider, 10

December 2008

Landmark Hafner’s opens the doors to its new store By Sarah Hall For over 80 years, the Hafner family farm stand has delivered top-quality produce and plants to Central New York families. “We’ve always been a place where people come from all over Central New York for their home and garden needs,” said owner Chuck Hafner. “Everything we sell is grown locally and is of the best quality.” That tradition will continue in the years to come, but in a new location. Hafner’s Farmers Market opened the doors to its new location (across Taft Road from the longtime building) on Nov. 13. The opening coincided with the store’s Christmas opening, allowing shoppers to peruse the shop’s vast selection of holiday decorations as well as wreaths, trees and other outdoor adornments. The store will hold a full grand opening in April once the planting season begins.

Getting started with a truck Hafner’s got its start in 1925 when George Hafner, father of current owner Chuck Hafner, started Hafner

The expanded new store will host its grand opening in April, just in time for the spring planting season.

Shoppers have already started to frequent Hafner’s Christmas Wonderland which offers everything holiday-related from gifts to decorations to cut trees.

Brothers Produce. “They were basically farmers, and it was just a truck farm,” Chuck Hafner said. “It was very small. They sold produce in-season right at the corner of Taft and Buckley.” As the community around the small

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farm stand grew, so too did Hafner’s; when Taft Road was widened in 1967, the family moved their house from the corner further back from the road and expanded the facility. “What is now the ice cream stand was our original farm stand in 1967,” Hafner said. “At that point, all we did was sell locally grown produce during the summer. Then we’d come back and sell Christmas trees in December.” Over the years, Hafner’s continued to expand. In 1975, the existing structure was built, though it was only about one-third of the size it is now. Hafner built additions as he added business, moving from produce only to a full-service nursery with flowering plants, nursery stock and more. “We kept adding on as business grew,” Hafner said. “But ultimately, we knew we’d need to do more in order to have an updated, structurally sound building that could address the needs of our customers.” In anticipation of that day, Hafner began buying adjacent properties as they came up for sale. “As people would move away or older residents’ houses would come up for sale after they passed away, I’d buy the properties,” Hafner said. “I wanted to make sure we had plenty of room to expand when the time came.”

New building, same service That time came just a few years ago in 2005, when Hafner realized the existing building was no longer adequate. “Basically, our building was 30 years

old,” Hafner said. “It had been added onto so many times that it was very hard to effectively manage it. Plus, it just wasn’t in great shape – the aisles are too narrow, there are slopes in the floor that the carts will roll down – and it just wasn’t easy or efficient to operate.” Because of his planning ahead, Hafner now owned 17 acres of land across Taft Road, acquired over about 20 years. He received approval from the town of Clay to build on the land and began his new project in two phases. The first phase involved the construction of 70,000 square feet of growing greenhouses in which Hafner’s grows and maintains its nursery stock and flowering plants. Second came the 65,000 square foot retail store. “[The new facility] allows us to still be hands-on and to sell what’s made us successful,” Hafner said. “And in addition, we can start carrying new things – things like pottery and other housewarming things. Basically, now, anything you can think of when it comes to home and garden, we’ll sell it.” This new store, Hafner said, will allow the customer to have a better shopping experience while still enjoying the same service and products that drew them to Hafner’s in the first place. “Our focus is still the same as it always was. In fact, we built this new, state-of-the-art facility with these greenhouses unlike any others in the Northeast in order to improve their shopping experience with us,” says Hafner. He hopes the new facility will allow the store to become even more of a destination for residents of Clay and all of CNY.


December 2008


Clay Insider, 11


Unique abounds at Ack’s By Melissa Renahan Looking for that unusual gift this holiday season? Perhaps something that would be difficult to wrap and leave under the tree? Then you should stop into Ack’s Exotic Pets. From the moment you walk inside you are overwhelmed by the sounds and sights of animals normally found in a zoo. Customers wander the aisles picking up bird toys, rabbit food and ordering live crickets (three dozen to be exact) to feed their Bearded Dragon. Ack’s, named for owner Carl Ackerbauer, will mark its two-year anniversary on Dec. 16 and is enjoying being part of a growing niche market. Specifically, one that caters to the needs and selling of exotic creatures. Ackerbauer, who lives in Cicero and had worked at another similar store for years, saw the interest that residents of this area had in exotics. So it was an easy decision to open the store here in CNY. “We’re a little off the beaten path, but we offer pets that are out of the ordinary so it’s worth the trip.” The store is packed with close to 10 species of birds, most of which are locally bred, small mammals

such as hedgehogs, sugar gliders and ferrets, and numerous reptiles. Pets are not limited to land however and Ack’s also carries an extensive selection of tropical and saltwater fish. Two of the most popular animals sold are the African Grey parrot and mini pot-bellied pigs, both of which are tough to keep in stock since they sell so fast. The store even has its own pets on the premises; an elderly tabby cat that is completely uninterested in the birds sitting just feet away and the two attention-grabbers, Kulu and Nimba, who are Coatimundis. Coatimundis are mammals from Central America, most commonly Costa Rica, they are sometimes called South American raccoons. Nimba and Kulu have been in the store since opening day when they were barely six weeks old and are as much a part of the atmosphere as chirping of parrots. “And no matter what someone offered,” adds Ackerbauer, “I could never sell them!” Much of the customer base is made up of repeat customers; people who have purchased their pets here and now frequent the store to buy food, aquariums, cages and other specialty products.

A donation from Cicero Walmart’s Good Works (an employee contribution program) was presented to the “Friends of the Canteen,” benefiting the non-profit organization for local youth.

Owner Carl Ackerbauer poses with one his many friends: Starburst, a Catalina Macaw.

Though first-timers do stop in and often leave with something they never thought they’d own, be it as common as a turtle or as strange as a short-tailed opossum. In the three weeks leading up to Christmas, Ackerbauer expects a surge in business. “Typically people will come in early December and buy the pet, but they can’t take it home right

then. So we keep it here and then they’ll pick it up on the 24th or sometimes even Christmas morning,” he explains. Being open on such a holiday is not a big deal here since someone always has to be on hand to feed the animals 365 days a year. Ack’s Exotic Pets is located at 8081 Route 11 in Cicero, next to Target.


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Clay Insider, 12


December 2008

good faith

Each month the Insider will run an article about faith submitted or suggested by a Clay resident. It can be about anything related to your faith and is not limited to the religious aspects of faith. If you are interested in submitting an article, please contact the editor at This month’s article was suggested by Clay resident David Hertwick and reported by Melissa Renahan. David Hertweck, the youth pastor at the Trinity Assembly of God church, wants to spread the good word about the addition to their parking lot: a clothing drop-off shed. The drop-off site will be run entirely by the church’s youth group, which involves cleaning the site, emptying the shed, organizing the clothes and occasionally re-bagging items. The shed was provided by an organization called St. Pauly Textile Inc. St. Pauly was started 12 years ago and its mission is to get wearable clothing to people who need it, both in the United States and Third World Countries. In 2007 they were able to ship over 34 million garments. They work with more than 300 non-profit organizations (mostly in Western New York) who earn

revenue for their efforts based on the donations they receive. The Trinity youth group has traveled around the world to support local churches and communities in practical ways. They also collect an offering at every meeting to give to missionaries all around the world that minister to spiritual needs and do something about the social injustices that plague our worldwide community: human trafficking, child soldiery, clean water crisis, etc. Having and maintaining this dropoff center is yet another opportunity for the teens to raise awareness of other people’s needs, both near and far. “In challenging our teenagers to think of others we are convinced that we’re following the example

Locally Bred Birds!

The teenagers at Trinity Assembly of God are spreading faith in the community and abroad through their charitable acts.

of Christ and bettering the world around us,” said Hertweck. Any funds raised through the drop-off center are used to support the youth groups’ service to the church and community. They will take lightly used/worn clothing,

W orship L istings Congregation Ner Tamid 5061 West Taft Rd., N. Syracuse 315-461-9226 Sabbath services Friday night at 7:30 p.m. Trinity Assembly of God 4398 Route 31, Clay 315-652-4996 Sunday Services: 10:15 a.m. & 6 p.m. Trinity United Methodist Church 8396 Morgan Rd., Clay 315-652-9186 Sunday Services: 9 and 11 a.m.


Our Lady of Walsingham Parish (Catholic, Western Rite) 8573 Van Heusen Rd,. Clay Sunday Service: 10 a.m.

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shoes, sneakers, belts, purses, linens, blankets and curtains. All items must be bagged and all donations are tax deductible. The church is located at 4398 Route 31, across the road from the Clay Fire Department.

Cross of Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church Route 57 and Soule Rd., Clay 315-622-2843 Sunday Service: 10:15 a.m. Liverpool 1st Presbyterian Church 603 Tulip St., Liverpool 315-457-3161 Sunday Service: 10:15 a.m. North Central Assembly of God 7463 Buckley Rd., N. Syracuse 315-458-0896 Sunday Worship: 8 & 10:15 a.m. Messiah’s Church (Reformed Presbyterian) 8181 Stearns Rd., Clay 315-451-2148 Sunday Service: 10 a.m.

Community Christian Reformed Church 7823 Hicks Rd., Baldwinsville 315-638-1664 King of Kings Lutheran Church 8278 Oswego Rd., Liverpool 315-622-2077 Sunday Services: 8:15 & 10:45 a.m. & 6 p.m. Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church 4947 Route 31, Clay 315-699-7268 Grace Covenant Church Stearns Rd. and Route 31, Clay Sunday Services: 8:30 and 11 a.m. Beacon Baptist Church 4800 Route 31, Clay 315-699-5900 Family Worship Center 8480 Morgan Rd., Clay, 315-652-3491 Sunday Services: 9 & 11 a.m. United Church of Christ in Bayberry 215 Blackberry Road, Clay 315-652-6789 Sunday Worship: 8:30 & 10:30 a.m. Northminster Presbyterian Church 7444 Buckley Road, North Syracuse 315-458-0393 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 4889 Bear Rd., Liverpool Sunday Service: 9:30 a.m. Blessed Hope Church 8791 Oswego Rd., Clay 315-695-6710

Is your church, synagogue or place of worship missing? Send us the information at and we will include it next month.

December 2008

Clay Insider, 13

Local Accomplishments

Capturing CNY on film Local documentary maker looks at what makes people happy By Laura Massey A couple of years ago, Ellen Kotzin decided she wasn’t happy. At 38 years old, this Clay woman left her career as a French teacher and went back to school to develop her creative side. Now a student at Onondaga Community College, Kotzin has learned the basics of cameras, video and editing. This knowledge allowed her to create her first independent project, a documentary short, “Chasing Happiness,” which premiered Nov. 17 at a screening at Jazz Central, an intimate 63-seat theater in downtown Syracuse. “I don’t think that people sit down and think enough about what makes them happy,” Kotzin said. “We tell people when they’re young, ‘You can be whatever you want when you grow up.’ But that fades away when you get older. I was something, but I don’t want to be that. I don’t want to settle for what I don’t want.” By creating her documentary, Kotzin chased her own happiness. Armed with a list of questions and her video camera, she set about finding out what makes people happy at different stages of life. Starting last summer, Kotzin interviewed seven people at milestone ages (10, 20, 30, 40, 60, 90 and 100) from all walks of life. Kotzin used her self-taught editing

skills to juxtapose interviews. The 100-year-old woman talks about the importance of family. The 10-year-old boy harbors aspirations of becoming an explorer. The 40-year-old lesbian Elvis impersonator invites us into her jungle room. The 60-year-old Vietnam veteran says that if he had a son of military age, he’d take him to Canada. The 20-year-old newly enlisted Marine proudly displays his uniform. The 30year-old stay-at-home mom plays with her young son. The 90-year-old woman who has outlived two of her children finds joy in the sunrise each morning. “They talk a bit about what makes them happy,” Kotzin said. “It’s as simple as that. That’s why I like the documentary format. You can just sit back and watch how people are.” As Kotzin works in her office in the basement of her house, she surrounds herself with the things that make her happy: photos of her husband and two smiling children are taped above her work space and two pugs and a Chihuahua romp around, sometimes pausing to curl up in the bed at her feet. Kotzin acknowledged how seeking happiness can sometimes cause conflicts. “There are different levels of happiness – personally, professionally.

Ellen Kotzin (right) with one of her documentary interviewees, Leslie Smith, a 30-year-old stay-at-home mom.

My family makes me happy. But it’s really killed me not to be able to be with them when I’m at school ‘til 8 at night. Going back to school full time as a mom is a challenge, but it’s something I like. That’s where the whole theme of ‘Chasing Happiness’ comes about.” Kotzin has submitted her 17-minute documentary to the 2009 Syracuse International Film Festival (SIFF). One of 14 categories, documentary shorts had five nominees last year, with films ranging from eight to 52 minutes. SIFF will present its films April 24 to May 3, 2009 in theaters around town.

B’ville author’s book reflects her journey in life

Kotzin has already posted two trailers on (Type in “Chasing Happiness Trailer” to view them.) “I’ve always been involved with some kind of creativity,” Kotzin said. “So it’s no surprise that it came back to me somehow.” Kotzin has found that she when she sits down to work, she can edit for hours because she enjoys it so much. She has found what makes her happy.

- Laura Massey is a student in the Goldring Art Journalism Program at the Newhouse School of Public Communication, Syracuse University.

Liverpool author releases new book

first book, entitled Refresh Me, Lord! whim she submitted the unsolicited Meditations to Renew a Woman’s Spir- manuscript one more time to Word “USA Today” bestselling author it is published through Word Among Among Us Press in 2005. She didn’t and Liverpool resident Gayle CalUs Press, a prominent Catholic pub- hear anything for an entire year. len is publishing her 15th book “I almost forgot that I had sent it,” lishing house. Costa started writing with HarperCollins Publishers. it 12 years ago when her daughter she remarked. The letter she received in was born. Since then the manuscript the mail from the editor apologized for Never Dare a Duke, which will be has survived two computer crashes, a the delayed response. Apparently the on bookstore shelves in December, flooded basement, and three rejections manuscript had been buried and was is about a duke with secrets who from publishers. During those years, nearly tossed out before being noticed.   contends with an undercover lady the author, who is originally from LivRefresh Me, Lord! is an inspirational journalist out to unmask him. Calerpool, also survived a near fatal health volume to encourage and affirm womlen has been published since 1999, complication, the tragic death of her en in their lives. It provides a source of and also writes medieval romances best friend to suicide and the illness support and renewal as they strive to live as Julia Latham for HarperCollins. and death of her father this spring. The lives of faith and joy. Costa’s own jourFor more information, visit her Anne (Cardozo) Costa, of Baldwins- book is dedicated to him.   ney is a reflection of what it means to websites at and ville, has been writing stories and poems “I almost gave up my dream of writ- live by faith and not by sight on the way since the first grade and held fast to the ing a book,” Costa explains. But on a to turning a personal dream a reality. dream of becoming a published author.  What she couldn’t imagine, however, Know someone who has accomplished something outstanding? is that it would take almost 40 years to Send their story and photo to the Clay Insider at news@ come true.   “The journey of this manuscript has for our new “Local Accomplishments” page! a life of its own,” Costa explained. Her

Clay Insider, 14

Clay’s Snow from page 5

With any weather situation, especially one involving trucks that weigh a few tons, safety precautions need to be taken. Weaver specified a few tips to keep the people and their cars out of harm’s way, while allowing the plows to do their job at the same time. One of the most important is where residents should park their vehicles. “The biggest precaution is that people shouldn’t park in the street,” Weaver states. People who decide to park in their driveways, which most tend to do, should park as far up the driveway as possible, leaving their bumpers off the edge of the road. “Doing that gives them room, gives drivers room to maneuver, it makes it easier for everybody,” he adds. Unfortunately, some residents

take offense to the plows messing up their neatly shoveled driveways; sometimes going so far as to heave their shovels at passing plows or even phoning in death threats because of the snow being back in their yard. One last bit of advice is to place the snow from your driveway onto your own property, as throwing snow into the road is illegal and can result in a fine. Every year the highway department is faced with difficult weather and manages to come through. All the snow, tons of salt and long plow routes are all part of the job. If anyone is interested in becoming a plow driver they can stop by the highway department and fill out an application. So what are Weaver’s thoughts on the recently commenced winter season? He predicts that it will be an average winter at best...and he is certainly a man who knows the subject matter.



December 2008


CopperTop Tavern is cooking By Betty and Richard Wiese We are always hoping for some new twist on food, and the CopperTop meets that expectation. The tastefully decorated former Red Lobster is at the corner of Bear Road and Route 11 in North Syracuse. We started with a delicious pineapple martini (on special at $6.50) and a tall draft beer ($3.50). The beer list is mind-boggling with 73 imported and domestic brands as well as a sampler of any 4 drafts in 5 ounce glasses ($5.75). The menu is large, with something to suit every taste from burgers to spicy Asian influenced noodles, and

He chose the Caribbean Spiced Pork Chops from the specials menu after our waitress assured us that they would be juicy. She didn’t lie. Two nicely sized juicy and flavorful pork chops shared a platter with beans and rice and a bruschetta topping. The spicy jerk sauce was on the side and its heavy clove overtones made it unappealing. The meal arrived piping hot as if it came straight from the oven to the table. We note this only because it doesn’t happen often enough, even in much higher priced locales.

could have been difficult to choose from were it not for our friendly and very helpful waitress. The specials menu is offered Monday through Saturday from 4:30 to 10 p.m. Twenty appetizers range from $7 Bruschetta to $9 for the Copper Nachos. We couldn’t resist ordering this heaping platter of fried pasta chips topped with sausage, pepperoni, cheeses, olives, and two sauces: tomato and alfredo. This is definitely not the usual nacho dish, and the flavor combination worked well. The addictive dish could easily have fed us both as dinner, but for the sake of our readers, we left half of the appetizer and ventured on. We learned the next day that reheating this leftover didn’t work, so either eat it or leave it behind. Sandwiches (under $9) are served on handmade bread with fries, and the selections show imagination like the Pork Torta with pork, pepperjack cheese, guacamole and spicy mayo. There are pizzas galore (under $10) baked in the restaurant’s stone oven. Many are interesting combinations such as prosciutto and goat cheese or five cheese and fresh tomato. There are a dozen pasta dishes (under $11) and half a dozen CopperTop Favorites (under $12).

She chose the Shrimp Tequila Fettuccine. It was a reasonable portion of al dente pasta with six medium sized shrimp and a delicious cream sauce accented with tequila and lime. An accompaniment of crispy, toasted home made garlic ciabatta bread was good enough to take home. We had to fill our own take-home containers, a practice we’re not fond of because of the risk of making a mess, but the reheated dishes made a great lunch. We could not end without mentioning our favorite dish from the specials menu. Coppertop makes a Fish Taco ($10.90) which is “to die for”. A large fried fillet is complimented with julienne veggies and a wonderful slightly spicy sauce. It’s big enough to share or take half home. Our dinner with one martini, two beers, appetizer and two entrees came to $48.79 plus tip. No coupons this time. This is one of those restaurants that you could go to every week and work your way through the menu. CopperTop deserves repeat visits to try all the different types of food.

Why do we get the “lake effect”? Cyclonic storms cause rapidly changing weather and precipitation through the Great Lakes drainage basin. Syracuse, and its surrounding suburbs, are positioned within the drainage basin of Lake Ontario, which extends for about 23,400 sq. miles.

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December 2008

Clay Insider, 15

Have a happy New Year: family style By Christina Lackey Ah, the days of late night parties and ruckus celebrations are a thing of the past in my house. Since we added our three children to our household, my husband and I find ourselves completely changing almost everything we once did, from our “primetime” dinners to lazy Sunday mornings at home. In their place, we find early dinners (so as not to delay bed time) and even earlier Sunday mornings (so as not to…miss the sunrise). And every day, we are thankful for that. Along with the change in customs came the precious opportunity to see the world through a child’s eyes and share the traditions that came to mean so much as my husband and I blended our separate experiences into one cohesive family. Most holidays come and go gracefully for the children, but New Year’s Eve tends to thwart even the best intentioned families as they try to include their children. There are ways, though, to make the evening and following day special for children of any age; many even allow for bed times to remain unaltered. One of the things that my family used to do when I was young is to celebrate New Year’s Eve with an evening out at the movies. It’s indoors, it’s a “night out,” which can be rare for young children, and then there is the attraction of the smorgasbord of snacks available at the theater. Local malls also feature laser tag (Shoppingtown Mall), miniature golf (Carousel Center) and arcades (Shoppingtown, Carousel, and Great Northern) if those activates are better suited for your crew. Some local bowling alleys are also offering special New Year’s Eve parties tailored to families, Toddler and Preschool: • Make “confetti” using hole punches and safety scissors. • Include the children in cooking: individual pizzas, cookies to decorate, and make- your- own sundaes are fun. • Make “snowflakes” by connecting pretzels with marshmallows, then drizzle them with white chocolate. • Have a dance party that ends at 7 p.m. • Create your own count down. Use your kitchen timer to count down to zero and then party like it’s the New Year! Include noisemakers, a sparkling apple juice toast, and confetti. School Age: • Reflect together on the year- good and bad events. Then, make resolutions, both individual and for the family together. Be sure to share your resolutions with the children. • Have a family game night. Pick up

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but that wrap up long before midnight. These are all great choices for the family looking to take their celebration (and hence, the mess) out of the home, but the budget conscious family might prefer an at home celebration. This could include friends with children or without, or could be set aside as a family- only time. The internet is a great resource for craft, recipe and game ideas for an at home celebration. A great place to start is familyfun. There, a simple search for New Year’s will yield a wide variety of ideas. Of course, different age groups will enjoy different activities. Some suggestions for each age group are listed below. No matter what activity you choose at the end of this month to welcome in 2009, remember that it can be a holiday about family, despite what the folks in Times Square may indicate! some small prizes from the Dollar Store and let the kids have a few dollars each to choose prizes for the adults. • Host a Chinese Auction. Sometimes it’s fun to impose a silly rule other than pricefor example, all items must have a tropical theme or everything must be edible. • Research and try some customs from other countries surrounding the New Year. Although the Chinese New Year is very popular, there are interesting customs from all around the world to discover. Tween/ Teen: • Rent or borrow a ping pong, pool, or foosball table and have a tournament. • Play resolution “truth or dare.” Make cards in advance to guide and limit the topics, but enjoy the game! • Have a cooking competition: invite teams of children and their friends to find and execute the best finger food recipes. Everyone will have fun “judging.”

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Contest Rules from page 1

Realty also brings in the buyer, that commission will also be waived; so savings could be as high as 7 percent. The contest will end on Feb. 28 and then the selection process will begin. Coach Boeheim will be selecting the winner, which will be announced mid-March. Starting in January the group will be tackling another community-based, year-long project that they are calling Every Monday Matters: On the Street Where You Live. The concept is one adapted from a popular book with a similar name and involves individuals and groups performing simple tasks every Monday for 52 weeks in hopes of making a difference. The tasks, such as replacing existing light bulbs with energy-efficient bulbs (like CFLs), are intended to be easy and cheap, but to make an impact…so long as enough people are involved. To register and join the program, either as an individual or a group, call 410-0373 or visit www.

Every month the Insider will list the upcoming month’s Monday activities on the upcoming events page.

The application for the Syracuse Realty Group’s “Commission-Free Home Sale” should be a letter no more than two pages in length and explain why you feel your home would be the perfect choice. The letter should reflect the reasons and emotions involved in making the decision to sell your home, as well as contain the items listed below. Please call Syracuse Realty Group office for a formal application. • Names of owners and family members • Address • Number of years living in the home • Reason for wanting to sell • Approximate date you’d like the house on the market • Remaining mortgage on the property • Any major concerns about selling • List of the main features that attracted you to the home you’re looking to sell.

Deadline for submission is Feb. 28, 2009. All submissions must be mailed or dropped off at 106 South Main Street, N. Syracuse NY 13212

Have You Got What It Takes? Help Needed – Volunteer Fire Fighters A job that is rewarding, challenging and well-respected.

We provide free training, free work uniforms, life insurance and retirement benefits and incentive programs. Interested applicants must possess the following qualifications: • 18 years of age • High School Diploma/GED • Valid NYS driver’s license If you have the heart and spirit to make your community a better place, consider volunteering with the Clay Volunteer Fire Department. For an application, please contact the office at:

622-4242 or 652-6121

Must live within Clay Fire District Line: Cherry Heights, Cherry Estate, Cherryton East, Fairways East, Lawton Valley Hunt, North Town Park, Route 31 (from Great Northern Mall to Cicero Town Line)

December 2008

Upcoming Events Clay Christmas Tree Lighting On Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. the town will light its tree at the Clay Historic Park. Starting at 5:30 p.m. the buildings will be open for touring. There will also be a visit from Santa! Refreshments will be served afterwards in the Railroad Station. Craft Shows

The 20th annual Soule Road Elementary PTO winter craft show will be held on Dec. 6 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. The Liverpool Public Library will host a Holiday Shopping Extravaganza on Dec. 6 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. A wide variety of consultants and crafters will be present with their gifts, plus there will be a bake sale and used book sale.

Presenting a Play in Clay

On Dec. 10 the Royal Fairytale Children’s Theatre will present Harold Angel Gets His Wings (original script & direction by Chrissy Clancy) Show starts at 6:45 p.m. at New Stage in the Clay Welcome Center located on Route 31. Tickets will be sold at the door $2 adults and $1 kids (16+). For more information email

Surviving the Holidays

No matter how long it’s been since your loved one died, grief can make the holidays a painful time. But there is hope. GriefShare is offering an encouraging seminar that will help you survive the holidays and discover new reasons to enjoy them again. Join us on Monday, Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. at Northside Baptist Church, 7965 Oswego Road, Liverpool. Call 652-3160 for more information.

Irish Book Circle Yule Celebration

The town of Clay Irish Book Circle, led by Professor Kate Costello-Sullivan from LeMoyne College, will meet from 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 17 (“The Land of Heart’s Desire” by William Butler Yeats) at the Center for Town of Clay Seniors, Route 31, Clay. Bring a yummy covered dish to share and enjoy the chat & beverages. Serving starts at 6 p.m. Also bring a Grab Bag Gift~Get a Grab Bag Gift~ ($5 limit). No registration required and attendance is free. For reading questions, please call Kate at 445-4215; for program questions call Chrissy at 652-3800 ext. 137.

Liverpool Library Events & Classes Controversial Film Series will return on Dec. 11 at 6 p.m. in the Carman Communtiy Room. SU’s Kendall Phillips will show A Streetcar Named Desire and then lead a discussion on the controversy that surrounded the film in 1951. Drop In for Crafts in the Children’s Room on Dec. 17 from 9:30 a.m. - 8 p.m. Kids aged preschool to sixth grade can make holiday crafts. All materials provided, no registration required.

Go Green this Christmas

Clay Trinity United Methodist Church is dreaming of a green Christmas. This year, instead of traditional paper, consider wrapping your gifts in our reusable fabric gift bags. They will be on sale at Trinity UMC at 8396 Morgan Road in Clay. By choosing our gift bags less wrapping paper will be put in our landfills. Whether you choose to go green or celebrate traditionally, come have your gifts wrapped and/or bagged by our talented and cheerful elves. The wrapping will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 13 and Dec. 20. Reasonable rates.

Santa Claus at the Great Northern Mall

Come out and tell Santa what you’re wishing for this year! Dec. 1 through Dec. 24 Santa and his elves will be at the mall weekdays from 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. , Saturdays from 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Christmas Eve hours are 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Have an event to list? Send it to

December 2008

Clay Insider, 17

Light the menorah, Chanukah is here By Betty Wiese & Erica Karban

Chanukah, the holiday that can be spelled eight different ways, is celebrated for eight days and begins with the lighting of a single candle on the left side of the eight-armed menorah (or Hanukiah). This year the lighting of the menorah begins at sundown on Sunday, Dec. 21 (the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev). Chanukah is a minor festival commemorating the rededication of Solomon’s temple after its defilement by the Romans in the first century B.C.E. A small group of Jewish vigilantes, called the Macabees, led a revolt against all odds and, in 165 B.C.E., claimed the victory. The holiday is really closer to Thanksgiving than Christmas. This was the first war in human history fought, not for land or plunder, but for religious freedom. Chanukah remembers the cleansing of the temple and its rededication to religious worship. As with all Jewish holidays, there are many rituals and customs connected with Chanukah. There is a story told about relighting the eternal flame in the temple. Only enough holy oil was found to last one day, but miraculously, it lasted eight days until a new supply arrived. In addition to the menorah being lit for eight nights (adding an additional candle each evening), but fried foods like doughnuts filled with jam and latkes (potato pancakes) are also traditional during Chanukah. Unlike regular candles lit in a home, Chanukah candles are lit by a Shamash (or helper candle). On many menorahs, this candle is in the middle and is often raised. This candle is lit by a match and then used to light all other candles that are being lit that evening. There are proscribed prayers said over the lighting of the candles; three prayers on the first night and two on each of the following nights. In many homes, songs are also sung; these range from the children’s “I Have A Little Dreidel” to the glorious “Moa Tzur” (“Rock of Ages”). The giving of gifts came about in the last century here in the United

States. Because of the prevalence of Christmas and its gifts, secularized Jews in this country began to give their children small and then larger gifts. It was, and still is, an effort to help the children cope with the pressures of the season. Gifts are not integral to the festival. Indeed, just

as with Christmas, the gift-giving often detracts from the true meaning of the season. Locally you can attend Friday night services at 6:30 p.m. at the Congregation Ner Tamid in North Syracuse. On Dec. 19 they will host a dinner celebrating the upcoming

holiday directly following services at at 7:15 p.m. If you’re looking to wish someone a Happy Chanukah this year, you can either simply say that or you can say “Chag Urim Sameach” (Hag ooh-reem sah-may-ach) which literally means Happy Festival of Lights.

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December 2008

Holiday House Hunting The pros and cons of selling and buying during the holidays By Christina Lackey It’s an age old question: to list, or not to list? Homeowners struggle with this decision each year. Is it a good idea to have a home listed for sale during the holidays? Is it a good idea to be buying during the holidays? There are truly pros and cons for both. It depends highly on a family’s traditions and preferences, but there are merits to proceeding with a sale during the holiday. In the case of listing your home for sale, the cautions are glaringly apparent: people tracking snow in, scheduling showings around holiday madness, closets bursting with cleverly hidden trinkets, and the overall effort of keeping a house in tip-top shape even though there are cookies and turkeys to make. It can all seem a little overwhelming, and rightly so…but they are not the only things to consider. There are also compelling arguments in favor of selling around the holidays. Buyers who are willing to trek through the snow are probably more serious than the happy go lucky buyers of the pleasant summer months, and they often have underlying reasons for being in the market this time of year. A first of the year transfer, growing family or life change happen regardless of the month listed on the calendar, so these buyers are often very motivated. They have the pleasure of seeing your home at its very finest: all decorated for merriment. There is no more attractive home than one that has been overhauled for the arrival of friends and family through the season. Another thing to keep in mind is that sellers always have the power to veto a visit. If a buyer wants to see your home on the night of your annual holiday gala, feel free to say no. Buyers schedule their trips around their events, so you should schedule showings around yours. On the other side of the spectrum are the buyers wondering whether waiting a few more months might garner them the steal of the century, or if now is the time to leap. Again, there are valid arguments for either approach. In favor of buying during the winter months, some of the same points can be made for the sellers. Since selling a home during the holidays requires a little more planning than during other times of the year, it can be an indication that the seller is serious about

making a move and not just dipping a toe into the price market to “see what we can get.” This can sometimes lead to a lower final price for the buyer, although it is not an absolute. The buyer also gets the benefit of seeing a home all decorated, and that can be not only fun but very helpful. A major part of buying a home is being able to see yourself living happily in it and the visual impact of seeing the decorations can allow your imagination to travel toward making your own happy memories in the house as well. On a more practical note, things like heat retention and the air tightness of the house are far easier to measure in the winter months when the difference between the indoor and outdoor air temperatures is greatest. As with anything, there are also cautions to buying during the holiday season. Since there are a certain number of sellers who are not willing to deal with the inconvenience of showings during the holidays, there will be some homes that will be missed. These will come onto the market again in the spring, and by choosing your new home during the holidays, you are denied the opportunity to consider these properties. Although many buyers choose to have a home inspection, there are also potentially unpleasant aspects of the home that could be hidden by snow or the cold weather like a worn roof that is snow covered or drainage problems that are difficult to detect when the ground is frozen. All of these things are relatively minor when it comes down to the decision at large. Deciding to move at any time of year is exciting, but also unnerving. Being well educated and prepared is the best way to combat undue stress and uncertainty at any time of year. - Christina Lackey is a licensed real estate agent and Clay resident.

December 2008


Clay Insider, 19

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Send an email Interested in advertising in the Clay Insider? Our specials are hard to beat! Call 434-1988 today!

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Septem ber 2008


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At a By Sarah Count news confe y Hall rence annou Executive today Clay nced that Joanie Mahon , and Super she was ey of recently as her visor namin earne schoo l busine d his certifi fiscal pick for the James Rowle g - and office ss admin cate The positior positi county’s chiefy was time in public istrati espec on. on Joe Marea n is office the way ially being . impre ne, who a job vacate he handl merg ssed She in d with ed the Mahon Tompkins has accep by year. er propo sal earlie police for his ey said she County. ted “I had r this secto combinatio chose Rowle know but r exper n y untilI never got n of Jim been ience of privat CFO e got January,” to work before, at Polari Liverp - he with Maho s Syste has was to see an MBAool since 2003, ney said.him him in ms in very from “I posse Syrac he handl impressedaction, and use Unive sses ed a very with the wayI rsity contro versia l Please

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Insid er space By Melis sa Renah issue For Clay, s. an see page CNY “Paradbeing chosen 4 detail s e of Home to host the can only on the be described s” this year cake. First as the icing Magaz came ine as the th article that the Money 59 best listed in the small place Clay U.S., Mary Thom to live press surrou then came the positiv pson, Execut Officer nding police of the e merger ive Remod the Home with the controversial fice, and Builde elers of rs ing the CNY, the privilenow this. Clay’ssheriff ’s ofsays that & event will to “celebr been given hostgive event that ge of hostin a comm ate and sell Clay a chance could bring g an annua 22,000 themse unity.” l people as lves HBRC Road and onto Caughmany as NY will To further that, as munity be hostin the them what into the town, denoy Night g a Com10, in on showin is a great we already order to Wednesday, know – g place to itself as promo Sept Clay Althou te live. a homeb commodity the town in all of gh it is the 17 th uyers. Things to potential tively low still beingNew York State, largest town like good schooltaxes, nomin the relabuilt and Clay is popula al crime develo tion distric govern ped year. Accordcontinues ment will ts, and solid rates, to grow as its of that ing 2000, presen be at the forefrolocal the populato the census each tation. Lando nt almost from tion was a opmen wners Group 58,805 sure to decade later t One Develhave climbe that numbe ; tion by spearheaded Despit JMG the site allocat r is d. Custom ing lots for the selechowev e the expected Homes Parade to be used er, the abilitie takes crowd . than But event the credit sured monet s s, that it takes cannot builders. and talents of more HBRC to secure the for this be not necess arily for NY actuall 2008 event the town meaRowle Clay Town many local Parade est and arily y measu – the Superv boost. and is the y’s hopes home. develo “One piece What viewed as a tourism isor Jim res interare more pment by the long-te it does spotlig amoun in of the focused has always do is put ht hosting, rm benefit t of buildinthe town filed in puzzle on growin on a well-deservin s been the for the busine g permit g town velopm such as revivin gained from that data, past year. sses along trying to attractClay while showc g, rapidly ents By analyz s the corrido in constr that have g housing de- Routes 31 builders the HBRC ing asing the either rs of that there NY can assure The constr and 57,” says slowed stoppe uction or even their homes d. is Rowle compl on Route uction of in the a market for etely of that the new y. area. proces town and 31 is a big Lowe’s s, the buildeIndependent must be may indica deal to the boom” HBRC good standin te that NY memb rs (who is on the “anoth way. ers in g) submi er and are Inside t applica chosen Town Hall... by the tions Garag .....Pa associa e Sale ge 5 tion to Finds. In Good Please .......Pa




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December Clay Insider  

4th issue of our town's paper

December Clay Insider  

4th issue of our town's paper