The Man Edition
Syracuse Woman Magazine
TABLE OF CONTENTS
june PUBLISHER'S WORD................................................................................6
FINANCE The differences between how men and women view finances............................................................................... 7 KINDNESS The man of my dreams come true....................................... 8
FASHION Men's trends: spring/summer 2021 .................................... 10 SPECIAL FEATURES Marathon Man: Josh Nefield runs with son in mind..... 12
Hop to it!: Underground Beer Lab......................................26
WOMEN IN BUSINESS Pursuing a dream: Apricot Lane reopens under new management................................................................... 16 ON THE COVER Ryan McMahon Meeting the moment............................... 19
HEALTH Demystifying male infertility................................................ 24 INSPIRES Jeremy DeChario ......................................................................30 Michael Spicer............................................................................. 34 UPCOMING EVENTS.............................................................................. 37 MOVERS & SHAKERS.......................................................................... 38
24 June 2021
16 The Man Edition
Syracuse Woman Magazine
Finding the leadership moment
n my recent interview for Syracuse Woman Magazine, Onondaga County Executive J. Ryan McMahon II spoke of looking for “a leadership moment” - an opportunity, when the community is in crisis, to show courage and conviction and effectively lead your constituents to a brighter outcome. McMahon would be the first to say that a global pandemic is more of a leadership moment than he bargained for, but nonetheless, he rose to the occasion. In his near-daily briefings during the onset of the pandemic and during the tragic second surge he spoke candidly about the county’s data-driven approach to pandemic policy making. He recognized the community’s anxieties and challenges, and modified the tone of his briefings to reflect what the community needed to hear - whether that was empathy, encouragement, or just brutal honesty. Even when his own health faltered under the stress of this massive responsibility, he gave the impression that he was in full command. Onondaga County has fared better than most large counties in New York, at least in part because our county leadership has been focused on a singular mission - defeating the virus and setting the stage for economic recovery. For Josh Newfield, his leadership moment came when his son, Benjamin, was born two months premature. After Benjamin spent 32 days in the neonatal intensive care unit at Crouse Hospital, Newfield combined his love of running with his newfound passion for the neonatal unit. He recently completed his first ultramarathon, and plans to run races of 50 miles and 100 kilometers (62.1 miles) to raise awareness and funds to benefit the facility. No one goes through life crisis-free. At some point in our lives, we will all have the opportunity to face a leadership moment - whether that be in our homes, in our careers or in any other arena. The question is, how will you react when your leadership moment arrives? For Ryan McMahon and Josh Newfield, they reacted in extraordinary ways. I hope you enjoy their stories. Also in this edition… Each June, Syracuse Woman Magazine turns its focus to a few men who are doing interesting or extraordinary things in our community. As we come out of our 14-month shroud, it seems appropriate to share the stories of people who have used the past year to build businesses and products that are ready to blossom in the post-pandemic world. Michael Spicer developed his taste for the maple syrup business as a fifth grader, and now, at age 23, he is in his third year of owning and operating Cedarvale Maple Farm in the aptly named Pleasant Valley just east of Marcellus. His is the story of a young entrepreneur who was just getting his business off the ground when the pandemic began. Read about the changes he’s made to keep his business growing, beginning on page 34. We also meet the man behind one of the best developments in recent years in downtown Syracuse - the launch of the new full-service grocery store. Jeremy DeChario manages the new Syracuse Food Co-op, which opened earlier this year in the Salt City Market on South Salina Street, adding a full-service grocery to an area that has seen explosive residential growth in recent years. His story begins on page 30. We hope our readers enjoy this once-a-year departure from our primary mission - telling the stories of Central New York’s remarkable women. We will return to that in our July, with an edition celebrating entertainment, food and summer in Central New York. Enjoy!
David Tyler firstname.lastname@example.org
PHOTOGRAPHERS Alice G. Patterson David Tyler
Iris Buczkowski Luca Castiglione Farah Jadran Jason Klaiber
Dinah Olson David Tyler Emma Vallelunga
Cover photo by Alice G. Patterson
Renée Moonan Linda Jabbour 315.657.7690 315.657.0849 Rmoonan@eaglenewsonline.com Ljabbour@eaglenewsonline.com
ADVERTISE WITH US
Unlike any other publication in the Syracuse area, our feature articles address major topics that interest local women. Each issue includes articles on health, fashion, fitness, finance, home matters, dining, lifestyle and personal perspectives, as well as a spotlight on local Syracuse women. Ads are due on the 15th of the month prior to publication. The print magazines will be distributed locally in over 350 locations and will be in your inbox electronically by the middle of every month. The publication is available free of charge.
CONTACT OUR HOME OFFICE 315.434.8889 | 2501 James Street, Suite 100, Syracuse, NY 13206
The magazine is published 12 times a year by Community Media Group, LLC and Eagle Publications, 2501 James St., Suite 100, Syracuse, NY 13206 Copyright © 2021 Community Media Group, LLC. No part of this magazine may be reproduced or republished without the consent of the publishers. Syracuse Woman Magazine is not responsible for unsolicited submissions, manuscripts, photos or artwork. All such submissions become the property of Community Media Group, LLC and will not be returned.
The Man Edition
Mars and Venus:
THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN HOW MEN AND WOMEN VIEW FINANCES Iris Buczkowski
s the old saying goes, men are from Mars and women are from Venus. But when it comes to financial matters, they may be in the same galaxy, but they are definitely a universe apart. In recent years there have been many studies done to examine the way men and women approach the management of their finances. There is a lot of psychology that goes along with this, but at a very fundamental level it is safe to say that women and men absorb and process information differently. Therefore, their relationship with money and how they perceive can be very divergent. As a person, or a couple, approach financial planning there is a definitive contrast in how men and women prefer to think about money. We often see more men taking a do-ityourself approach when it comes to investing and they also tend to focus more on the short term rather than the full life cycle. In contrast, women prefer to seek out advice and are more attuned
Syracuse Woman Magazine
to matters such as estate considerations, legacy, and long-term planning. In most cases couples complement each other by meeting somewhere in the middle, but no matter where the intersection meets it is critical to have a comprehensive understanding of what you currently have and how you are going to meet your goals. Financial planning has become much more complex than it used to be in recent years given the myriad things a person or a couple need to consider in the process. For most women it is critical to find an advisor that can cut through the jargon and be able to communication in an understandable and relatable fashion. Real life experiences and empathy are important and give confidence to investors that the advisor is authentic and knowledgeable about the information they present. There is so much more to financial planning than just simply investing money. Look for an advisor that you can simply talk to because at the end of the day planning and communication are the keys to financial success. SWM Iris Buczkowski is the chief executive officer of Birch Wealth Management (BirchWealth.com).
The man of my dreams come true Farah Jadran
hen it comes to commitment, unconditional love, gratitude and honor, there is one person I think of immediately. Niko Tamurian and I got married more than six years ago and we have been together for more than 10 years altogether. Over that time, we have found so much joy. His kind nature and ability to always make me smile are among his many natural qualities. I will never forget the moment I read an email from Niko back in 2012 that was so complimentary of the work I was doing and asking me if he could “talk to me about something soon.” I gave him my work number and a time to call the next day because I thought my sports anchor friend in local news had a female athlete in mind for me to feature in Syracuse Woman Magazine. Turns out, that call would lead to our first date and much more. The night before, Niko was anchoring sports at CNYCentral. Before his sportscast on the CW6 evening news, a short one-minute business segment I recorded for WCNY at the time would come on the air. While he watched in the studio during the break, Matt Mulcahy would ask Niko, “Do you like her?” Wayne Mahar would also chime in. Both encouraged Niko to ask me out on a date, saying we would make a nice couple. His friends and coworkers did help add to Niko’s confidence to finally reach out. I am glad he did, and I often tell Wayne and Matt I am thankful for their support. We had a memorable first date at Francesca’s where Niko would be himself and reveal he was as big of a “nerd” as I am. When I use that term, it means so many things and we love being nerds together! We don’t care what makes us laugh and we don’t care what anyone thinks about us. All that matters is that we love each other and our three beautiful dogs. We’re not big into going out, but we do occasionally and like to get dressed up as a couple. We love to golf and enjoy the nice weather
when it sticks around in Central New York. We also love staying home in pajamas, watching “our shows” and movies while Niko makes a nacho party. Niko is a genuine and thoughtful person who has always strived to be the best person he can be. He’s always been a hard worker - putting in lots of hours at Parkway Pizza saving up for his first car and then kicking into high gear to put himself through school at both OCC and Buffalo State to study journalism and soon become the talented, award-winning, passionate and leading sports anchor he is in our community today. His heart is bigger than I can describe. He is always supportive of me and looking for ways to show he cares. We have enjoyed an amazing journey to this day. We are always thanking God for what we have and for the blessings we know He has in store for us in the years to come. As I write about my beautiful husband, best friend and teammate for life, I know I could fill an entire magazine with stories about all the ways he shines. I know we are blessed to be together and I know sometimes “finding love” or the right person can seem impossible. With that said, I give this advice from my experiences. If you are in a great place personally, authentically love yourself and are not looking for love - love will find you. I was not expecting that email or call from Niko, but I thank God he brought us together because there’s no one else in this world who could make my dreams come true. Kindness can change someone’s heart. It can help others realize there is a world around them and more to life than possessions and petty arguments. Kindness can be the message you wear and walk with because you choose to live life with genuine gratitude for each day you are given. Tomorrow is not promised. Why not spend today being kind and being positive? SWM Farah Jadran is the anchor of CBS5 This Morning and CBS5 News at Noon for CNYCentral in Syracuse. Farah also served as editor of SWM for more than four years after she helped launch it in January 2011. If you or someone you know is spreading kindness in our community -- tweet at her -- @FarahJadran using #BeKindSyracuse.
The Man Edition
New Summer Food & Cocktail Menus Live Entertainment Every Saturday
0 utdoor Seating
Voted 2nd Best Burger in NY... NY Beef Council!
Syracuse Woman Magazine
Men’s trends: spring/summer 2021 Luca Castiglione
s we lay the skinny jeans to rest, we experience the resurrection of previously adored silhouettes. This spring/summer 2021 season we can expect a resurgence of more loose fitting and utilitarian silhouettes — with a sharper focus on comfort. With a style that expresses effortlessness, some claim this to be a resurgence of the popular suit style of the 90s. The re-introduction of more loose fitting, comfort-focused garments may be a derivative of the disruption to everyday attire caused by the pandemic.
When the world shut down, companies quickly adapted to having their employees work from home. This shift in everyday life most closely impacted many industries, including fashion. Athleisure continued to grow in popularity, fusing the essence of comfort with acceptable style. We also notice an uptick in workwear apparel companies like JW Andersen and Carhartt WIP. These two brands in particular uniquely combine elements of contemporary streetwear and workwear, which elevates the brands’ creative abilities in the public’s eyes.
As the recent trends of lessbeing-more continues, we will see minimalism take over more than ever. Companies are straying away from large logos and branding elements. This focus on consistent brand style in a minimal logo-less way has been done by brands like Rick Owens, Issey Miyake, and Raf Simon since their brands’ inceptions, but is now being emulated by other players in the industry. Military inspired jumpsuits were seen on the runway by many brands, but most notably by Lemaire, which presented this pocket-heavy design in a monochromatic color scheme. SWM
Gearing for the warm weather, Bermuda shorts are now the go-to. With this season’s trend being big and bold prints with pops of color, the role of shorts has completely evolved. What used to be perceived as simple garments allowing for breathability, now serve as statement pieces on their own. As expected after the year we have had, this season is intended to be uplifting, filled with optimism and a noticeable focus on the pastel color palette.
The Man Edition
ok acebo se F n o Join us ChicSyracu at Eco
the look you want for less
We offer alteration services, shoe dyeing and Touchstone jewelry by Swarovski. We sell top-quality formal wear to fit every budget!
4314 East Genesee St. DeWitt, NY 13214 315.445.CHIC (2442) www.EcoChicBoutique.biz
DESIGNER LABELS - BARGAIN PRICES! Open Tuesday - Saturday 11-5pm
Syracuse Woman Magazine
• bridal gowns • bridesmaid dresses • mother of the bride gowns • first communion dresses • prom/ball gowns • cocktail dresses • floor length gowns • flower girl dresses • headpieces • shawls • shoes • jewelry • handbags
(315) 638.5200 • 4 West Genesee St., Baldwinsville syracuseblissbridal.com Hours: By appointment for your safety. Please call for an appointment!
JOSH NEWFIELD RUNS WITH SON IN MIND
hile out for an afternoon run early last June, Josh Newfield of Liverpool received a phone call that stopped him in his tracks and forever altered his course. He immediately rushed over to the Crouse Hospital delivery room where his then-pregnant wife Amy had been admitted for observation after her blood pressure rose considerably. What followed was a threeday waiting game, culminating in the moment Newfield refers to as “the kicker”: the instant a nurse suggested he retrieve some spare clothing and any other necessities, implying that he and his wife would be in for a long night. At around 5:45 the next morning, after a 15-minutelong emergency C-section, the couple welcomed their first child, Benjamin Aaron, into the world. Though the Newfields had an inkling that their son would be born at least slightly early, his arrival two months before the 40-week mark came as something of a surprise. “It’s a nerve-wracking situation,” Josh Newfield said. “When you’re at that point in time, there’s nothing you can do to control the immediate situation in any way except for just being there as best as possible.” Benjamin remained in the Walter R.G. Baker Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for 32 days, a “middle-of-theroad” length of time relative to
other babies born just as prematurely, according to information his parents gathered. Considering what could have been, Josh Newfield said he and his wife felt fortunate that they were able to conduct the anticipated car seat test for Benjamin after tallying not much more than a one-month hospital stay. “When you find out that other families have come in literally every day for 120 days, it really just puts it in perspective and puts you in a different place mentally,” he said. His excitement and thankfulness at the time were, however, offset by the feeling that the COVID regulations in place last summer were not the easiest to work around. In the weeks after Benjamin’s birth, Josh and Amy Newfield were allowed only a fourhour visiting window in total. Also, if either of them signed out at any point and left the hospital grounds, their return was not permitted until the following day. On top of this, only one parent was allowed into the NICU at a time, so they often ended up taking turns checking on Benjamin while the other wandered the University Hill area. Despite any frustrations that stemmed from these regulations, Josh Newfield retains nothing but praise for the level of care administered at the Baker Regional NICU during that month-long
Newfield prefers to go out for a run in the summer heat and the colorful fall, while his favorite distance to cover is 6.25 miles. He also doesn’t mind “precarious” situations, like the time he sprained his ankle but continued on with a race until the finish. June 2021
The Man Edition
stretch, calling the medical team there “amazing.” He also recalls his nerves during the process being calmed by a familiar face—that of a NICU nurse who had once joined in on a scuba diving trip he led as a teacher for the National Aquatic Service. Through the rest of that June and into early July, Newfield said the Crouse staff members answered any and all questions in depth while making rounds and altogether keeping tabs on as many as 65 newborns at peak hours. “When they see a parent come in, they’re always available and ready to come and have a conversation with you to tell you how things are going,” Newfield said. Though assistance was there at a second’s notice in the NICU, the 37-year-old father said the visits still mainly revolved around the parentchild bonding experience, which involved bathing, feeding and holding Benjamin in their arms. To show his gratitude for the NICU, Newfield has begun promoting his story and the donation page for the Crouse Health Foundation in tandem with his long-distance running endeavors. He assures that any financial contribution helps in the long run no matter the amount, as does the sharing of his Continued on page 14 Josh Newfield said he felt “jubilation” when Benjamin was brought home. Though the milestone scale as it pertains to crawling, walking and babbling has seen delays (an expected result of the premature birth), Newfield said his son is “relatively healthy” and a “loving-life type” who enjoys playing both his xylophone and mini piano. Syracuse Woman Magazine
Marathon Man from page 13 CrouseConnects blog post detailing his efforts as a marathoner. Running started becoming a more prominent part of Newfield’s life in the later part of this past decade, specifically in the wake of a pair of back surgeries. By that point, not only did he yearn to “feel fantastic” without the use of pills, but he also saw himself on the cusp of diabetes and liver troubles. From there, the aim to restore his health and push his personal limits as a runner transformed into a passion. “It’s a form of mild escapism where you can take any stress of the day and put it beside you,” Newfield said. He now runs just about every day year-round, regardless of whether the temperature outside is 15 degrees or 93. Often enough, if the day’s conditions seem right, he’ll bring Benjamin along in a jogging stroller for a fivemile stretch. On April 17, Newfield crossed the finish line of the English’s Ridge Rumble 50K held at Green Lakes State Park in about eight hours’ time, thus completing his first ultramarathon. By the end of this fall, he hopes to have the Finger Lakes 50-miler and
a 100K—which amounts to 62.14 miles—under his belt as well. Community support through donations and emotional encouragement will, according to Newfield, propel him through the more challenging portions of future races, like any emergence of the “deep, dark mental hole” known in the world of running as the pain cave or the wall climbs, tire flips and quarter-mile sandbag carries associated with Spartan Race obstacle courses. When things have seemed most grueling in the past, Newfield said the thought of his three-and-a-quarterpound son and those other newborns fighting for their lives in the NICU has been just as much of a motivator to put one foot in front of the other and get over another hilltop. SWM
Benjamin Aaron Newfield, pictured here with his dad, turned one this month. His middle name honors his paternal grandfather.Newfield lives in Liverpool with his family. He works in sales for the human resources and payroll processing company ADP. June 2021
The Man Edition
Syracuse Woman Magazine
WOMEN IN BUSINESS
Pursuing a dream
APRICOT LANE REOPENS UNDER NEW OWNERSHIP David Tyler
he pandemic has given a number of people the opportunity to reevaluate what they want to do with their lives. That can certainly be said of Alison Ryan of Manlius, who launched a new career last month when she and her husband, Tommy, re-opened Apricot Lane Boutique in Fayetteville, which had closed last November after a 10-year run under previous ownership. For Ryan, it presented an opportunity both to give new life to a store she loved and to change her career path. “I’ve always had a passion and a desire for clothes,” she said, “and my husband would be the first to say I’ve spent a lot of money here over the years.” Ryan grew up in Manlius, and before going into retailing, she had been in media sales, both in New York City and locally. She and Tommy recently purchased a home in Manlius. When Apricot Lane closed last November, the couple talked it over, decided it was a dream worth pursuing, and reached out to the corporate headquarters. “I couldn’t let it close,” she said. “And I also wanted to pursue a dream. You know, COVID kind of changes everyone’s perspective. Ryan said her interactions with the company, including the retail training they provide and support they’ve provided in buying merchandise and alerting her to new trends and styles, have been nothing but positive. “They really set me up over the last few months to feel strong and confident in opening up,” she said. “They keep me on track and that’s a really important piece.”
Opening the store is not the only life-changing event for Alison and Tommy. Alison was eight months pregnant when Apricot Lane offered her the franchise. That call was over Zoom, and after they offered the franchise, she stood up to show her new corporate partners her baby bump. “They were great. They were very supportive,” she said. McKenna Ryan is now four months old, with bright blue eyes and her father’s dimples. “She’s the star of the show,” Tommy Ryan said. So far, Alison Ryan said, the response from the community has been excellent. More than 200 people came through the store during the soft opening, which took place during the last week in April. Many of the customers became devoted to Apricot Lane under the previous ownership and were thrilled to have it reopen under new management. “The response is the same: We really needed something like this on this side of town,” she said. “It’s really exciting.” Apricot Lane employs six people, including Alison and Tommy. Despite a challenging environment for finding employees, Alison said she was lucky to find four people who perfectly fit what she was looking for in a retail employee. SWM Apricot Lane Boutique is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Wegmans DeWitt Plaza, 6811 E. Genesee St. This story originally appeared in the Eagle Bulletin.
The Man Edition
Syracuse Woman Magazine
FULL PAGE AD
The Man Edition
RYAN McMAHON Meeting the moment J. RYAN MCMAHON II LEADS ONONDAGA COUNTY THROUGH ITS DARKEST DAYS
“In my own head that was really one of the darkest moments,” he said. “I knew we had to do something different. We had to take our stand.” — Ryan McMahon
Photo by Alice G. Patterson
Syracuse Woman Magazine
Meeting the moment J. RYAN MCMAHON II LEADS ONONDAGA COUNTY THROUGH ITS DARKEST DAYS David Tyler
n late January, at the height of the second wave of the pandemic, Onondaga County Executive J. Ryan McMahon II was home on a Saturday feeling deflated. He had just received a phone call letting him know that 13 county residents had died that day. The number of daily positive COVID-19 cases had surged to nearly 500. The county health department was getting overrun and local hospitals were nearing their breaking point. With the test positivity rate nearing 9 percent, he realized that the county was nearing the threshold that would require another complete shutdown. “In my own head that was really one of the darkest moments,” he said. “I knew we had to do something different. We had to take our stand.” And so on that Saturday, McMahon came up with a Hail Mary idea to provide the health department with the necessary resources to track and trace the spread of the virus and get the number of new cases under control. He mobilized every county employee from every department and quickly converted them to case investigators. “We had hundreds of employees doing the work, so we could get our arms around it,” he said. “It worked. We were able to box it in.” Daily case numbers dropped, and by the beginning of March the test positivity rate dropped to between 1 and 2 percent. In the long saga that has been this pandemic, McMahon sees that moment as a turning point, and believes it’s one of the main reasons that Onondaga County has fared better than other large counties in the state.
A rising political star
McMahon grew up on Wellesley Road in the Strathmore neighborhood. His parents both worked for the city of Syracuse – his father a codes inspector and his mother working in neighborhood community development. It was a big family, with his adopted older brother and three younger siblings and extended family living all around. “The McMahon family’s been on Wellesley Road for generations.
June 2021 2021
The TheMan Man Edition
21 Speaking of the diverse, competent women in his staff:
“They are some of the most competent employees we have in all of government. You want to have a diverse staff, but I want the best,” he said. “There’s intention, but at the same time it’s easy when they’re the best.”—Ryan McMahon At different times, there would be five or six McMahons on Wellesley Road at a time. I think there’s three there now,” he said. “It was a big Irish Catholic family that was always ingrained in their community and I kind of learned a little bit about service through that.” When he was a teenager, the family came together to found the McMahon Ryan Child Advocacy site, an organization focused on ending child abuse in the community. McMahon was an active volunteer as the fledgling organization got off the ground, giving him a taste of public service. A few years later, after his junior year at LeMoyne College, he began to work in Assemblyman Hal Brown’s office, where he got a feel for the political side of community service. And by the time he graduated, he said he was “fully engaged” and beginning to think about a career in politics. As luck would have it, a seat on the Syracuse Common Council soon became available, and at 23, McMahon tossed his hat in the ring. He worked hard, meeting with community groups, knocking on doors, learning the different issues that affect different neighborhoods. When the campaign was over, he expected to win, but when the votes were tallied, McMahon had lost in a close race. He took the setback hard. “I was 23 – young, had always had things go my way for the most part, and I lost – I lost a close race,” he said. “It was my first real big failure in a public setting, and you can’t hide that.” He had to decide if he wanted to stay the course with politics or do something different. He chose the former. “I made a lot of connections in the neighborhoods, and a lot of people invested in me, with their time and their support,” McMahon said. “I had to decide, did I mean what I said? These people believed what I said. Do I stick with it and get back up?” And so within a month of his first electoral defeat, he began going back into the neighborhoods, meeting with community groups, paving the way for the 2005 campaign, which, eventually, he won. “That was a big moment in my career.” he said. McMahon served for six years on the Syracuse Common Council before successfully running for the Onondaga County Legislature in 2011. The day he was sworn in as a legislator, he was also voted in as chairman. “We had a lot of success at the legislature, we had a good team,” he said. But after a few years, he set his sights on higher office – the county executive position.
Syracuse Woman Magazine
In 2018, then-County Executive Joanie Mahoney left the post for a position in state government. With the support of the Republican caucus in the legislature, McMahon was quickly appointed to fill the remainder of her term. A year later, he was convincingly elected to the position after a hard-fought campaign in which he focused on his PIE agenda – tackling poverty, infrastructure, and economic development. But that agenda – and everything else – was about to hit a brick wall. “We were off and running,” McMahon said. “Going into 2020, our agenda, we were flying high, great stuff going on in '19, and then [COVID] happened.”
Meeting the moment
Across the country, executive leaders at all levels of government have seen their fortunes fall because of their handling of the pandemic. Many have argued that former President Donald Trump’s fate in the November election was sealed by his handling of the crisis. Gov. Andrew Cuomo – once the darling of cable news – now faces calls for his impeachment, in part because of policies and cover ups related to COVID deaths in nursing homes. Like most everything in the United States today, the pandemic has become a political football, and leaders from both parties have come under heavy scrutiny for either being too restrictive or too laissez faire about their handling of the virus. Through this period, however, McMahon has stayed largely above the fray. “We talk about meeting the moment. Every day you have to meet the moment,” he said. “There’s a different anxiety level and a different issue every day that means a lot to someone in the community.” Beginning last spring, McMahon began holding near-daily briefings that were livestreamed on Facebook. His philosophy during these briefings is simple – be honest with the public and have your tone match the tone in the community. “It was our job to communicate where we were, what the fed rules were, what the state rules were, what our role was,” he said. “This was all about a relationship with the community, so that they could trust me and when we would ask them to make sacrifices they would respond. And I think for the most part that has worked, and that’s why our community has fared much, much better than other large communities in the state.” And he has purposefully avoided any of the partisan battles that have boiled over during the past year, sometimes offering praise
Meeting the moment from page 21 to both Democrats and Republicans who have aided in Onondaga County’s recovery and leveling criticism at members of both parties for policies he believed impeded the county’s progress. “I saw what happened with this pandemic and the politics that were injected into it on the right and the left, and you can’t get good results that way, and I think people are sick of it,” McMahon said. “This has been a war. By not getting into that fray, we kept more troops working toward the goal to win this thing.” Throughout the pandemic, he has taken a hands-on role, and as the focus moved from reducing the rate of transmission to vaccine distribution, that role has been even greater. “I know that this is how we end this. I know that this is the most important thing, likely, I hope, that we will ever do,” he said. “I’m responsible for that. And so if there are mistakes made, they need to be mine.”
‘It consumes you’
In one way or another, every American has been affected by the pandemic. For some, it was death, illness or the loss of a loved one. For others it was economic calamity, or the mental health challenges that result from anxiety and isolation. For Ryan McMahon, it was the stress of leading a county of nearly half a million people through crisis, and the serious health implications that ensued. “It consumes you, always trying to stay ahead of it,” he said. “You can’t turn it off. It doesn’t go away.” On Feb. 4, a Thursday, Gov. Cuomo made everyone 65 and older eligible for the vaccine. It was good news, but at the same time vaccines were in very limited supply compared with the demand, and the phones at the county executive’s office rang off the hook with people trying to get vaccinated. “We had 100,000 people looking for a shot, and I had 1,200 to give away,” he said. “People were desperate. And there was nothing I could do to change the outcome.” The following day, after a sleepless night, he said he felt blinded by some light and his equilibrium was off.
On that Friday evening, he met with his team and was seeing double. He asked for a ride home, thinking it was likely a migraine, even though he hadn’t suffered from migraines in the past. By Saturday, his double vision and the vertigo sensation were even worse. “I woke up the next day, and I couldn’t see. I saw so much that I just couldn’t see,” he said. “I actually tried to shovel my front porch and I couldn’t even stand. It was so off, I kept on falling in the snow.” He called his doctor, who suggested he get his blood pressure taken. It was through the roof. McMahon spent that Sunday going through a battery of tests, including multiple MRIs and CT scans and a spinal tap. A brain tumor was ruled out and his physicians didn’t think it was stroke. After a couple of days of testing, he had a diagnosis. He had thyroid dysfunction and excessively high blood pressure that caused a nerve that controls his left eye to break away from the muscle, effectively leaving him unable to control his left eye. The most likely cause is stress. On Monday, he did his regular public briefing, keeping county residents up to date with information about cases and vaccine distribution. Within days, he gave the State of the County address, which he had to memorize because he couldn’t read his notes. Throughout it all, he was up front about his health, even at the potential cost of having the public lose confidence in his ability to lead. “I felt like I had to be honest with what happened to me. It could be used as a credible messenger moment for others to address mental health and address the fact that
The Man Edition
we’ve all gone through something none of us have ever gone through,” he said. “Everybody’s been impacted by it and that’s ok. It’s ok to get help.” He gets emotional when he talks about the “overwhelming” community response to the news of illness. “We got a lot of letters,” he said. “A lot of people reaching out sharing their stories. That was a pretty good feeling.” More than three months later, McMahon estimates about 65 percent of his vision has returned. He still has a blind spot on the left side and sees double when trying to look to the left, but he has lost weight, can now run on a treadmill without l osing his balance, and is getting his blood pressure under control.
A family’s sacrifice
McMahon met his wife, Kate, at a restaurant on the west side. They both came from large west-end families although they didn’t know each other until this chance meeting. After dating for a few months, when the holidays came around, they spent a lot of time with each other’s families, and it dawned on McMahon that this relationship would be more than just dating. “There was a pretty good reaction,” he said. “I felt like I could see a future.” Kate is a teacher in the Baldwinsville school district and the couple now lives with their three children, Jack, 13, Madeleine, 11 and Andrew, 4, in the Winkworth neighborhood on the west side. They’re great kids, he said. But in addition to the sacrifices that all kids have made during the pandemic, it has been especially difficult for them because of how consuming his role has been the past 14 months. “When you are home, sometimes you’re really not home,” he said. “And for [Kate], she’s had to sacrifice a lot because she really hasn’t had a husband there to address what she’s been going through as an adult in this pandemic, this 100-year thing.” He’s relied heavily on Kate to keep things going at home when he works long hours into the evening. She’s also been a shoulder to lean on, a sounding board for ideas and, most importantly, he said, “a friend – and you know it’s nice to have a friend there as well.” McMahon heaps praise on several women in his administration who have helped lead the county through this crisis and has often given his briefings standing shoulder to shoulder with Commissioner of Health Dr. Indu Gupta. The female members of his executive leadership team include two of his deputy county executives, Ann Rooney and Mary Beth Premo, and his chief of staff, Sue Stanczyk. He calls his economic development specialist Isabelle Harris and his communications and research specialist TeNesha Murphy “complete rock stars.” Developing a diverse staff, he said, has been easy, because the women in his administration have proven to be the most competent and qualified for their respective jobs. “They are some of the most competent employees we have in all of government. You want to have a diverse staff, but I want the best,” he said. “There’s intention, but at the same time it’s easy when they’re the best.”
Syracuse Woman Magazine
Beyond the pandemic
Before the pandemic began, McMahon felt that Onondaga County was on track to make a difference in the three focus areas of his agenda – fighting poverty, replacing aging infrastructure and economic development. As the virus slowly fades away, he hopes to be turning his attention back to those core areas in short order. “The big thing is, number one, we’ve got to end this pandemic. Number two, we’ve got to keep schools open for full in-person learning,” he said. “But at some point we just want to fully go into the recovery.” McMahon sees future targeted investments in the economic sectors that were “decimated” by the pandemic to keep recovery steaming ahead, like the restaurant program where the county used $500,000 to double the value of gift certificates purchased for use at locally-owned restaurants. There is a lot to do to get Onondaga County back on track, but at 41 years old, McMahon could have several decades remaining in his political career, and his name has been mentioned as a potential candidate for higher state or federal offices. He’s been asked to run for congress three times, he said, and has turned the opportunity down three times. It’s flattering, he said, that his name has been mentioned as a possible candidate for governor. While he’s not shy about discussing a potential political leap, for now he is solely focused on the county’s needs. “I love this job. I absolutely love this job. I have a vision and an agenda I want to get accomplished, and I feel if we can get these things done, this community will be better for the next generation,” he said. “As long as we do a good job and we’re honest with people, I think other opportunities could be there at other points in our lifetime.” SWM
“I love this job. I absolutely love this job. I have a vision and an agenda I want to get accomplished, and I feel if we can get these things done, this community will be better for the next generation,” he said. “As long as we do a good job and we’re honest with people, I think other opportunities could be there at other points in our lifetime.” — Ryan McMahon
Demystifying male infertility IT’S NOT AS SCARY AS YOU MIGHT THINK
o you and your partner have decided you want to have a baby? For some couples this is achieved by discontinuing the use of contraception and having intercourse at the optimal time of a woman’s menstrual cycle. For other couples, despite their best effort, they do not become pregnant. If after one year of trying you’re unsuccessful, you might consider infertility. It is common for women to be the focus of attention as the source of infertility, however most professionals recommend the male partner be concurrently evaluated. Many women report their male partner as hesitant to seek care. This brief overview of the initial infertility evaluation for men is intended to demystify the process and encourage men to seek care. The first step is to schedule an office visit with your primary care provider, an urologist or a fertility specialist. The initial evaluation normally consists of a thorough review of your medical history, a physical examination and arranging for a test called a semen analysis. During the medical history the patient is asked detailed questions about their health history. This includes information spanning from birth to present, so taking some time to gather your medical,
surgical and family history information prior to the appointment is important. Bring this information with you to your office visit. The reason to review this information is to help your healthcare provider identify factors that could contribute to infertility. Broadly speaking, these factors may create a problem making sperm or making sperm that functions properly. These factors could be congenital - meaning something you were born with - or acquired, relating to something that happened to you or systemic illness or disease process, which could be something currently affecting your health that might possibly be treatable. The majority of your visit will likely be spent on the talking part. In addition to your medical, surgical and family history, you will be asked about your lifestyle, occupation and hobbies. Other questions will pertain to how your body is functioning during intercourse. Once a thorough history is taken an examination should occur. Along with a general physical exam, there will be an exam of your genitals. The provider will check to see if the genitals appear normal. In most cases, following the history and physical exam, a semen analysis will be ordered. If the history and exam uncover particular
The Man Edition
medical concerns, other laboratory tests or imaging may also be recommended. The semen analysis evaluates the health of the semen which includes the sperm and the fluid in that comes out during ejaculation (orgasm). For a man to be fertile, healthy sperm need to be produced and transported out of the testicles into the semen, there needs to be enough sperm present and the sperm must be able to move properly to reach the female’s egg. The semen analysis test starts with the patient providing a sample of ejaculate. That is done privately via masturbation with the ejaculate entering a special sterile cup. You will receive instructions on how to collect a good specimen and you should carefully follow your provider’s instructions. Typically, you will be asked to create a sample after abstaining from ejaculation for two to seven days prior. You will be instructed on what type of lubricants may or may not be used. If this is not done in a specialist office, you will be asked to complete the specimen collection at home and transport it to the office. The time between ejaculation and proper evaluation of the sperm is limited. You will be advised on how much time you have to get the sample to the office and how to keep the temperature in optimal range. It is important to follow these instruction carefully to get a good evaluation. There are home test kits on the market, but they are not generally recommended. Once the sample is in the laboratory it will be evaluated. Your semen analysis report may vary but most include: • Volume: measurement of how much fluid is in the sample • Sperm concentration: how many sperm are in each milliliter of fluid • Total number: a count of number of sperm in the sample • Morphology: do the sperm have normal shape? • Vitality: Percentage of sperm that are alive • Progressive motility: Percentage of sperm that move in a straight line or large circle • Total motility: Percentage of sperm with both progressive and non progressive motility (progressive motility refers to sperm that move in a straight line or large circle) Your sample will be compared to expected values based on studies of men whose partner successfully became pregnant within one year of trying. If the semen analysis is abnormal, you will likely be asked to repeat the test to be sure of the findings. A report will be generated and interpreted by a trained clinician. Once the semen analysis is complete it is important that you meet with the ordering clinician to discuss your results so they can help you understand what it means. If the test is deemed abnormal, your clinician will recommend next steps. They might recommend additional evaluation such as having your blood drawn for tests to check hormones, genetics testing or imaging such as ultrasound of the genital area. Hopefully this give couples an idea of what the initial infertility evaluation process is like for the male partner. SWM Dinah Olson is a physician assistant at OCO Center for Reproductive Health.
Syracuse Woman Magazine
Hop to it!
TRIO LAUNCHES UNDERGROUND BEER LAB IN EAST SYRACUSE
Photo by David Tyler
The Man Edition
ny creation that comes out of Underground Beer Lab promises to be always experimental but never accidental. Craft beer lovers in Syracuse, where there are about 20 active breweries in Onondaga County alone, have something new to taste-test as summer begins in Central New York. Brian Berry began homebrewing as a hobby as early as 2014. He met Kevin Taylor, who was also a homebrewer. Their wives were mutual friends, and their children went to school together in the same district, so their friendship and bond over beer grew when they decided to start UBL as their own brewery in 2017. “We definitely got started through our wives and our love of beer and brewing it,” Taylor said. For the first year and a half, Taylor and Berry started experimenting. They rented a commercial space in East Syracuse, went to a brewers retreat and tried to come up with a plan to start their business. They said they thought they had it all figured out — then they met Keith Lindner, who brought six years of commercial brewingexperience to the UBL partnership. “[It was] trying to figure out how to be better brewers and then also trying to navigate how to even start a commercial brewery is where we had no idea,” Berry said. “When Keith came on board, that was his
thing, so he was able to help really turbo-charge getting this thing going.” Lindner said the three of them had originally planned to have Lindner consult for Berry and Taylor while allowing Lindner to produce his own beer at UBL under an alternating proprietorship, but they ultimately decided to join forces instead. “Without them, I wouldn’t have an open brewery, and it’s been a great partnership in that way,” Lindner said. “We made the decision because we could build something faster, better, bigger together than we could’ve on our own.” Lindner also said he enjoys the craft beer community in the Syracuse and CNY area for its small, close-knit feel. “Everybody helps each other out,” Lindner said. “We’ve certainly leaned on other breweries as we’ve gotten our doors open, and we’ll do the same when the time comes for others. The relationships that I’ve built have been life-long.” With more confidence and experience under their belt, the UBL team just opened for pickup orders in early April. “When the three of us got together, that kind of lit a fire under us to make it happen and quickly,” Taylor said. The beers produced inside UBL are more hop-forward. A few New England IPAs, some double IPAs, sour IPAs,
a pilsner, table beer and pale ale are already listed on their website. UBL uses locally-grown hops from in and around CNY for many of their products, but they’re also focused on creating unique beers. Their sour IPA, Catalysis #1 Thermotolerans, will be a part of a rotating series that combines hops with a lactic acid-producing yeast for extra acidity. One of their double IPAs, One of My Kind American DIPA, has more fruit-forward aromatics balanced by classic hop flavor. Another IPA, Collectivity #1 Farmhouse, is made from a yeast Lindner cultured in his own homebrewing experiments. Lindner said each beer will have its own framework, and they’ll use a variety of different ingredients and processes within that framework to create something that’s fresh, new and exciting. “Because our batch sizes are small, we can do a lot of variety and have a lot of different things coming out all the time,” Lindner said. “We don’t brew a batch and have it sit in a cooler for months at a time because there’s just not that much of it. So that’s a weakness in one sense in terms of the volume we can put out, but it’s a strength in terms of the variation we can offer.” New beers will be added to their online shop and announced on their social media every Friday. Customers can order online and pick up at the
Continued on page 28
Keith Lindner, Brian Berry and Kevin Taylor take a break from a canning session at the Underground Beer Lab, a new brewery they recently launched in East Syracuse. Syracuse Woman Magazine
Underground Beer Lab from page 27 brewery every Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 12 to 4 p.m. or stop by for an inperson order and take it to-go. The brewery’s location isn’t underground as the name implies, but it is a little undisclosed. It’s tucked away at 7000 Airways Park Drive, off of Fly Road in Dewitt, just north of where I-481 meets Collamer Road. The area has a large parking lot, and there’s no tasting room at the moment, but during the pandemic, Lindner said they hope to implement that once it’s safer to do so. “We have a pretty small indoor space, so that’s part of the reason why we haven’t pushed that just yet, but hopefully we’ll do a little bit outside here as well,” Lindner said. The brewery’s main logo and some beer can labels, a design inspired by periodictable elements, were created by Taylor’s wife Annie, who creates many graphic designs for her own stationery company Annie Taylor Design. “Having Annie available as a graphic designer made it very easy,” Berry said. “We started pitching her some names we were thinking of, and when we finally landed on this name, she came back with that, and she basically nailed it.
The periodic-table element was the one that everyone liked the most, and it seemed like a natural fit.” So far, customer feedback on the beers they’ve produced has been positive. Lindner said most have been repeat customers, and in his experience, that’s usually promising. “When a new brewery opens up, you can count on craft beer fans going at least once,” Lindner said. “But the fact that we’ve seen people two, three, four times already is a good sign for where this is going.” The brewery has a lot of hopes for the future — better equipment, a bigger brewhouse and more offsite selling locations — but for now, the team wants to focus on experimenting with new formulas and flavors to make sure they’re producing the perfect beverages for the Syracuse beer community to enjoy. To learn more about new releases, ordering online, prices and FAQ, visit their website at undergroundbeerlab.com or follow them on Facebook and Instagram at Underground Beer Lab. SWM
The Man Edition
Dr Suzanne Shapero, DMD, MBA, PC Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
“Don’t be afraid of the dentist, Dr Shapero is not only a dentist, but a good friend. Thanks to everyone there for making the trip to the dentist a painless and friendly experience.” - - Phillip E., patient
Jussara Potter Photography
Our Advanced Services performed in a safe environment with our state-of-the art filtration system We Accept: Cigna 1 Charlotte Street, Baldwinsville (across from the Police Station) In the old Post Office building opposite the Village Hall
LAUNDROMAT Immaculately Clean Laundromats Your Big Quilts & Blankets are No Problem Huge 80lb. Capacity Washers Save Time & Money Make This Year Your Best Year Plenty Of Dryers - No Waiting!
3 5 LO C AT I O N S T O S E R V E Y O U B E T T E R 26 Genesee Street • Auburn.......................................... Tel: 315-258-9141 24 E. Genesee Street • Baldwinsville............................. Tel: 315-635-6291 8007 State Route 31 • Bridgeport ................................. Tel: 315-633-2063 8313 US Route 11 • Cicero ......................................................................... 8440 Oswego Road • Clay ............................................. Tel: 315-622-4469 13 River Street • Cortland ............................................. Tel: 607-758-7830 307 W. Manlius Street • East Syracuse .......................... Tel: 315-431-9453 3606 W. Genesee Street • Fairmount ............................ Tel: 315-701-4483 160 S. Second Street • Fulton ....................................... Tel: 315-598-1755 100 Grand Avenue • Syracuse ....................................... Tel: 315-476-9855 138 N. Exchange Street • Geneva.................................. Tel: 315-781-0901 489 James Street • Syracuse ......................................... Tel: 315-472-9435
408 Oswego Road • Liverpool ....................................... Tel: 315-457-2413 105 W Seneca Street• Manlius ...................................... Tel: 315-682-0785 222 N. Massey Street • Watertown ............................... Tel: 315-779-2266 100 Matty Avenue • Mattydale ..................................... Tel: 315-455-1938 330 Costello Parkway • Minoa ...................................... Tel: 315-656-3321 6131 S. Salina Street • Nedrow ..................................... Tel: 315-214-8760 3 Henderson Street • NY Mills ....................................... Tel: 315-736-5075 500 N. Main Street • North Syracuse ............................. Tel: 315-458-7658 502 Lenox Avenue • Oneida .......................................... Tel: 315-363-0345 65 E. Bridge Street • Oswego ........................................ Tel: 315-342-5998
120 Black River Blvd. • Rome ........................................ Tel: 315-281-0014 1805 South Avenue • Syracuse ..................................... Tel: 315-472-6577
Happy Father’s Day!
Syracuse Woman Magazine
3901 S. Salina Street • Syracuse.................................... Tel: 315-378-0016 1547 State Street • Watertown ..................................... Tel: 315-786-3998 5864 Thompson Road • Dewitt ..................................... Tel: 315-449-4326 1601 West Genesee Street • Syracuse ........................... Tel: 315-471-7472 16 E. Main Street • Trumansburg .................................. Tel: 607-387-4021 1502 Genesee Street • Utica ......................................... Tel: 315-732-0758 120 E. Fourth Street • Watkins Glen .............................. Tel: 607-535-5534 820 Wolf Street • Syracuse ............................................ Tel: 315-425-0899 59 Central Avenue • Illion ............................................. Tel: 315-894-2737 416 Velasko Road • Western Lights ............................... Tel: 315-475-0864 2685 Erie Drive • Weedsport ......................................... Tel: 315-834-9386
OPEN 24 HOURS
FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE! SyracuseWomanMag.com
The Man Edition
Bringing a community together through food Emma Vallelunga
eremy DeChario knows communities can come together through good times and bad. His role as general manager with the Syracuse Cooperative Market has given him a special appreciation for the wholesale, local grocery experience and what it means for the people of Syracuse, who now have two store locations to call their own thanks to his hard work and dedication. DeChario moved to Syracuse from Florida with his partner 11 years ago and has been working at the co-op ever since. “She got into grad school at SU, and we picked Syracuse over New York [City] or D.C. because it was an affordable place to live, and it seemed like a good spot for us,” DeChario said. “I was born in western Massachusetts, so it felt really good to be back here.” From starting out as a part-time cash register to other jobs around the store, DeChario worked his way up to become store manager at the co-op’s original location on Kensington Road. Historically, the grocery store has operated in the Westcott neighborhood of Syracuse for more than 45 years, focusing on locally-made, high quality and organic products that both promote the local economy and build a stronger community. But DeChario had bigger dreams for the future of the co-op. “I really started working on an expansion project seven years ago,” he said. “I really wanted to bring a grocery store to downtown Syracuse. It was something I was very interested in, being a part of the growth and experience of downtown.” The nature of the COVID-19 pandemic made grocery stores like the co-op essential to Syracuse communities, so when sales were rising, DeChario knew it was time to open a second store when he became the Co-op’s general manager. But plans for that were already in the works as early as 2019, and the perfect opportunity fell into place with the brand new Salt City Market. “We started working with the Allyn Family Foundation and the Syracuse Urban Partnership to be an anchored tenant in the Salt City Market,” he said. “We had planned on opening in March or April. The biggest thing with the pandemic was acquiring the manufactured components, like the grocery shelving and things like that, with the reduced capacity limits that people are operating under at the moment.” The Salt City Market, a $22 million project to build a multicultural food hall in downtown Syracuse aimed at bringing together the city’s most diverse food vendors and businesses, opened its doors early this year. While the building’s other floors are office and apartment spaces, renovated into the ground floor next to the market was a new space for a second Co-op, which officially opened this April with a soft opening. At the grand opening, DeChario cut the ribbon, and he said the feedback has been extremely positive.
Continued on page 32 Syracuse Woman Magazine SyracuseWomanMag.com SyracuseWomanMag.com
Bringing a community together through food from page 31 “We didn’t want to do a grand opening before we were really ready, so the soft-open let us tune some systems and make sure we had everything out,” he said. “So far, everybody just seems to be really glad that we’re here, and I think we’re working to make sure our product mix is correct for the area and the new customers that are coming into the Co-op for the first time.” The new location inside Salt City Market serves as downtown’s first full-service grocery store, something the area was lacking as the population grew in recent years. It’s convenient for many reasons: visibility from the Marriott Syracuse Downtown across the street, accessibility to bus lines for easy transportation to other parts of the city and walkability for downtown residents and workers to grab a nice lunch and their groceries at the same time. “Our hope is that people come in for lunch and do a big shop, especially once the offices open back up,” he said. “Not everyone wants to do a grocery shop when they get out of work, but if they can get it out of the way during their lunch break, so much the better.” The co-op is proud to be community-driven and memberfocused, but customers don’t need to be members to shop at either location. It functions like any normal grocery store, and while it is member-owned, both locations are open to the public. “I think people found that they enjoyed a different grocery shopping experience than [what] some of our competitors offered,” he said. “People want to go into a store that feels manageable and not 120,000 square feet of a hundred different varieties of every single item. They’re just able to come in and do a full shop in a shorter period of time.” DeChario has other future plans for the second location. He said acquiring a beer license for the downtown store is already underway, just like the Kensington location, as well as establishing a goal to grow their prepared-foods section. “We really want people to feel like it’s their grocery store, because it’s literally their grocery store,” he said. “Food brings us all together at the same table, and I feel like that’s what the co-op community is really about. It’s about people that have an interest in food in a community that’s accessible to everyone.” When it comes to what inspires DeChario to continue serving Syracuse at the co-op, he said it isn’t about him. It’s about being there for the community that comes together, helping it thrive through hardship and building a better co-op for future generations to come. “Over the last 47 years the co-op has been here, it’s had a lot of new owners, a lot of growth and changes to reflect the unique needs of the community,” he said. “It’s our job to be good stewards for our members so that the co-op exists in another 47 years, and that’s what’s so motivating about it. It’s on us to make sure that my son, in 20 years, can shop at the co-op, just like folks that founded the co-op have kids and grandkids that shop here now. It’s everybody’s co-op. It’s my endeavor to be a good steward of this community asset.” SWM
The Man Edition
Syracuse Woman Magazine
The Man Edition
YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR TAKES CEDARVALE MAPLE SYRUP COMPANY TO NEW HEIGHTS Emma Vallelunga
he flavor of maple can be tasted on more than just pancakes, and the celebration of maple sugar in Central New York can be experienced in more months than just March. It’s a clear marketing strategy that 22-year-old Michael Spicer has excelled at as he prepares for a new chapter in both his small business and his bright future. Spicer is the owner of Cedarvale Maple Syrup Company, a small maple sugar farm in Onondaga County that dates back to 1977. His passion for maple syrup began when he was 11 after a fifth-grade field trip. He started tapping the trees and boiling their sap in his own backyard, producing enough syrup to sell at local farmers markets by the time he was 18. When the original Cedarvale owner Karl Wiles was ready to retire and sell his property in 2017, Spicer was interested. He knew Wiles well and had prior experience from not only selling his own product but also working for other maple sugar farms in the area. As the two discussed future plans, Spicer wound up buying the business in 2019 — all while being a sophomore athlete studying economics at Hamilton College. Since then, Cedarvale has only grown. The business expanded its product line to sell more than just syrup, items like maple creams, coffee, ice cream, candies, barbeque sauces, hot sauces, mustards, dog treats and more. Spicer also improved the company’s website, allowing for online ordering and sharing maple-inspired recipes for people to try at home, like maple sweet potato casserole and bourbon maple pecan pie. Now in his third year operating Cedarvale, Spicer just finished his last semester of college. He’s driven to grow the business even more, especially during the pandemic. When COVID-19 shut
down a lot of small businesses in March of last year, maple sugar season was still at its peak, so Spicer said Cedarvale kept producing, but they did have to cancel their 2020 Maple Weekend, which is usually where a third of their annual sales come from. “At that point, it was a little scary,” he said. “You’d watch the news, and you had this eerie feeling, you didn’t know where anything was going to go, but we quickly transitioned our energy into the business right away.” At their store, Spicer said they continued to maintain safety protocols, allowing a limited number of people inside at a time, mandating masks, providing contactless pickup for orders placed online and offering free delivery within the Syracuse area. Social media was also something Spicer revamped during the pandemic. With the help of his sister, who was also a student at Hamilton, they began posting on the company’s Facebook and Instagram to share updates with their followers when they couldn’t do it as easily during Maple Weekend. “People were going to need entertainment, so we figured why not,” he said. “We were right in the heart of maple season, let’s give people some content to look at. We were going to put out as much content as we possibly could. At that point, we really were not using Facebook or Instagram that much at all, not even close to how we use it today.” This March, Spicer said Cedarvale produced about 400 gallons of syrup to sell both during Maple Weekend and the rest of the year. And more new customers have visited Cedarvale this season than any other. The response to the changes he’s made, like posting on social media, has been incredibly good for business. “We realized we can post [something], whether it’s a recipe or just a fun demonstration video, and it’s likely that we’ll get someone Continued on page 36
Syracuse Woman Magazine
Sweet success from page 35 to come down to the shop that day,” he said. “The amount of new people that we’ve had come into the shop has been absolutely inspiring in itself, just because these people will come in and say, ‘I’ve lived ten minutes away my entire life, and I’ve never been here. What a cool place.’” Community events are another aspect Spicer has focused on establishing at Cedarvale. Through April and May, Spicer partnered with Syracuse businesses like Limp Lizard BBQ, Blueberries and Lace, Toss & Fire Wood-Fired Pizza and Birdsong Cafe to host socially-distanced gatherings at Cedarvale with maple-inspired barbeque, homemade pastries, breakfast items and other local foods. Spicer has more events planned for the summer in hopes of both increasing community outreach and keeping people thinking about maple all-year-round. “We can bring in a food truck, and our community outreach will go through the roof,” he said. “We’ll have so many new customers, we get to put so many smiles on people’s faces and give them an awesome experience, and it wouldn’t be possible if all these other Syracuse businesses didn’t have the opportunity to come together, so through those partnerships, it’s actually turned out to be the best year in Cedarvale history.” Like most students, Spicer had to study from home this past year, but he opted to continue virtual learning during his last semester so he could spend more time running the business every day. He graduated last month, and he’s been fully vaccinated, but he decided not to attend the college’s commencement in person. For his own future, Spicer isn’t exactly sure what he wants right now. He hopes to stay with Cedarvale, possibly looking for opportunities to go into retail with a few products, but he said he wouldn’t be opposed to markets outside of maple syrup with his degree. “It’s been a very slow process,” he said. “I haven’t been able to allocate any time to [job searching], being in the heart of maple season and then finishing up school, but hopefully one day I can be a full-time entrepreneur.” As a small business owner, Spicer said something the pandemic has taught him so far was to use your resources and develop your network so your community can support you when you need it most. “We would not have been able to combat the changes alone,” he said. “Not that we necessarily experienced extreme hardships, but there’s no way we would be where we are today without going through those local partnerships and building those local relationships with people. If you help those in the community, they’re going to help you, and everybody’s going to come out of this a lot stronger.” SWM
The Man Edition
UPCOMING EVENTS Saturday June 5
Raised Bed Gardening: Locktender's Gardening Series
What: Learn how to plan and get the most from small space gardens with raised beds like they do at the Erie Canal Museum, as Pat Jokajtys from the Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners Program leads this virtual program, part of the museum’s effort to revitalize its Locktender's Garden area and encourage people along the canal to take up gardening in order to create a more beautiful and sustainable Canal Corridor. Where: This event is online When: 10 to 11 a.m. Info: eriecanalmuseum.org
Thursday June 10 – Sunday June 13
St. Sophia's Church Drive Thru Greek Food Fest
What: The 2021 Edition has been rebranded as the "Drive Thru Greek Food Fest." and will take place as a drive-thru Greek food festival on church grounds in DeWitt. An expanded menu as well as the ability to pre-order online for express curbside pickup is new this year. "To Go" menu includes many of your festival favorites. Check the festival website for a complete list. Both cash and credit cards are accepted for onsite orders. Where: 325 Waring Road, DeWitt When: Thurs., 5 to 9 p.m.; Fri.,, 5 to 9 p.m., Sat., noon to 9 p.m.; Sun., noon to 6 p.m. Info: syracusegreekfest.com
Friday June 11
10,000 Maniacs in concert
What: Making their first performance since Feb. 29, 2020, 10,000 Maniacs featuring Mary Ramsey will perform at Beak & Skiff Apple Orchards. This event is open to patrons of all ages. Tickets are offered in pods of two people ($130-$190) and four people ($260-$380). Pod protocol can be found on the venue’s website on the summer concert page. Where: 2708 Lords Hill Road, Lafayette When: 7 p.m. Info: For more information call 315-696-6055 or visit beakandskiff.com
Saturday June 12
LaFayette Craft Fair
What: Rain or shine! Browse the wares of local artists, artisans and authors, get a bite to eat at our food trucks, and try your luck in our artisan raffle. Where: Fred Stafford Memorial Park, 2931 US Route 11, LaFayette When 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sunday, June 13
Silverwood Clarinet Choir outdoor concert
What: Live music in Manlius! The 12-member Silverwood Clarinet Choir is hosting its second free outdoor concert in Manlius. The Choir will perform Gustav Holst’s Jupiter from The Planets and many lighter and popular pieces. As a special event, our choir will present a saxophone ensemble performing works in various styles. Reservations required and only 125 will be accepted for this event; spaced in accordance with CDC and state guidelines. Lawn seating. Bring your own chair or blanket. Feel free to bring light refreshments. Where: 4111 Pompey Center Road, Manlius When: 2 p.m. Info: www.silverwoodclarinet.com
Every second Sunday May through October
What: Vendors from all over the region will be on the grounds of the Everson Museum of Art selling ceramics, vintage clothing, furniture, home décor, handmade crafts, antiques, and much more. Where: 401 Harrison St., Syracuse When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Info: everson.org
Friday, June 18
Exploring the Back 40
What: John Weeks always referred to the northernmost fields and forests of Baltimore Woods as “the back 40.” Explore this less-visited area to find the birds, plants, and ecosystems that make it special. Program includes a hike over gently rolling terrain and a couple of small hills. This program is for adults. When: 10 to 11:30 a.m. Where: 4007 Bishop Hill Road, Marcellus Info: baltimorewoods.org
Syracuse Woman Magazine
MOVERS AND SHAKERS
Neuner and Liberati join Everson team
The Everson Museum of Art recently welcomed two new members to its full-time staff. Jennifer Neuner joins the Everson as deputy director and Amanda Liberati as director of finance. Neuner brings more than 25 years of management experience to the role of deputy director, a new position at the Everson. She has spent the last 18 years serving as director of special events and communications at Manlius Pebble Hill High School. As deputy director, Neuner's areas of oversight will include operations, visitor experience, external engagement, and other strategic initiatives. Liberati comes to the Everson from Friends of Rosamond Gifford Zoo, where she served as director of finance. She will assume responsibilities from Kevin Montgomery, who is retiring after 12 years at the Everson. With more than 19 years of experience in accounting and management roles for notfor-profit organizations, Liberati will help provide financial planning, governance, and guidance to help the Everson reach its short and long-term goals. "Both of these key additions coincide with a moment when the Everson has its foot on the gas pedal and is heading toward some major improvements and changes. From the upcoming launch of a new website and rebranding effort to a projected fall opening of a new in-house café, there's never been a better time for two such qualified individuals to join our outstanding team," said Everson Director Elizabeth Dunbar.
Two named trustees at Vera House Foundation
The Vera House Foundation recently announced the addition of two new trustees, Gwendolyn “Gwen” Sanders and Erica WynnKearse. Sanders is the community relations manager for the New York customer and community engagement team at National Grid and serves as the community liaison for the Central, Northern and Mohawk Valley regions. Wynn-Kearse serves as faculty affairs specialist at Syracuse University and has 17 years of human resources experience. "Vera House is in an exciting phase of its development," says Co-Executive Director Angela Douglas. "We are excited to have both Erica and Gwen join us on this journey of impacting our community and elevating the nature of how we resource and lead our work." "We are honored to welcome Gwen and Erica to the Vera House Foundation," says Co-Executive Director Randi Bregman. "Their passion and commitment to our mission will help us achieve our strategic vision and ensure our services continue for many years to come." The foundation was established in 1991 to ensure the long-term financial health of Vera House and is June 2021
separately incorporated from Vera House, Inc. Foundation trustees work to ensure that Vera House's important work will be always available for those who need it.
Promoted to director of women’s services
Jessica Leaf, RN, was recently promoted to the position of director of women’s services at Oswego Health. Leaf graduated from Cayuga Community College in 2007 and jumped right into a career of nursing as a medical/surgical nurse at A.L. Lee Memorial Hospital. In 2009, Leaf joined the Oswego Health family and quickly transitioned in 2010 to the maternity department, which she has called home ever since. “I have the utmost confidence in Jessica, and she is perfect for this leadership role,” said Director of Nursing Melissa Purtell. “Jessica is one who continually seeks out opportunities to enhance her skill set and most recently became certified in electronic fetal monitoring. We are so proud of her accomplishments at Oswego Health and thankful she’s a part of our team.”
Named commencement speaker
Si Po Ra immigrated to the United States from Burma, graduated from Henninger High School in 2019, and enrolled at OCC where she earned a degree in humanities and social sciences. She recently was named one of three student commencement speakers for OCC’s graduation ceremonies. SUNY named Ra one of just 45 students statewide to receive the Norman R. McConney Jr. Award for Student Excellence. The award highlights outstanding students in the Educational Opportunity Program for their academic excellence and strength in overcoming significant personal obstacles throughout their lives. Ra is transferring to Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs where she will major in International Relations.
The Man Edition
Syracuse Woman Magazine