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The Constitution


Celebrating urban life since 1989

VAN Jones:

December 2011 â—?

The next

The Hall Monitor

Jessie Jackson?

What do Howie Hawkins, Diana Ross and Bob Marley have in common? p. 3

By Walt Shepperd

Race written all over Penn State sex p. 3 scandal Serving Upstate urban communities since 1989. In partnership with: EAGLE


Zach Gross


December 2011




City Scuffle

By Walt Shepperd

Downtown soul food tradition renewed Tom sits on a stool at the counter in the front window of Odessa’s, newly opened soul food restaurant on Jefferson Street between Montgomery and Warren, previously the location of Southern Flava. He reflects on his career in cooking, begun in 1974 at the then Holiday Inn on East Genesee Street. There were opportunities for higher paying factory jobs back then, but the factories have all now closed. “You don’t have to worry about lay-offs if you’re cooking,” he observes. He has since put in a lot of years at stoves in “the chains” as he calls them. He simply got tired of anticipating the “pre-done” taste. He now cooks in tandem with Melvin, who owns the business. The place is named after Melvin’s mom. “Everybody seems to want what’s bad for them,” Tom observes, echoing the bad rap which hovers over soul food, overly fat and lacking nutrition. “But you’ve got

to be consistent with soul food. I use low sodium cheese and one percent milk. I try not to use a lot of pork.” On first visit the cheese melted smoothly into the grits, runny but negotiable with a fork, and the cat fish was bite size without any sense of pre-done in the taste. Salmon patties were promised for the next day, and ribs and black-eyed peas announced for dinner. Take out seems the real deal while Odessa’s gets itself together, waiting for a water pipe for the coffee machine and saving up for a really big refrigerator. For now six seats are paired at tables, with three stools in the window for watching the Jefferson Street Parade.

Kenneth Jackson Editor and Publisher Jennifer Wing Designer Walt Shepperd Senior Editor Send mail c/o Eagle Media 2501 James St., Suite 100 Syracuse, NY 13206 For advertising and editorial: (315) 422-7778 (315) 434-8883 -- Fax Printed by: Community Media Group LLC 2501 James St., Suite 100,  Syracuse, NY 13206 No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission. The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily the opinions of Community Media Group LLC or Eagle Newspapers.

Tom explains it’s best to order ahead, on the phone at 218-6441 or fax to 22186442. The atmosphere and R&B CDs are upbeat, with freshly painted walls and deep purple trim. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are available Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., closed Sunday. Lunch specials can be had for $5.

Caucasian cousins

While soul food constitutes a generally accepted menu nationwide—fried chicken, greens, corn bread, sweet potato pie—its southern Caucasian cousin has yet to catch on much outside the likes of

Cover story

Mount Olive and Rollin’ Fork, Miss. But for those seeking an alimentary adventure, recipes for Perlow, Hoppin’ John and Crepes a la Creola Le Beau (left-over collards, tortilla chips and mayonnaise heated with a can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup) can be found in “White Trash Cooking” by the late Earnest Matthew Mickler, from Ten Speed Press in Berkeley, Calif., although the 1986 classic (along with the 1988 companion “Sinkin Spells, Hot Flashes, Fits and Cravins,” which addresses Possum, Squirrel, indeed anything that goes good with a grape Nehi) may be out of print.

Occupy protestors could spring American Autumn Is Van Jones the next Jessie Jackson?

Published monthly by: URBAN CNY

Call ahead

By Walt Shepperd

As deadline loomed for this column, cities across the nation hunkered down in anticipation of massive reactions to the New York City police department’s 1 a.m. Nov. 15 eviction of the two-month old Occupy Wall Street urban village. Hundreds of the sleep-in protestors returned to Zuccotti Park that evening after a judge ruled they could be in, but could no longer sleep in the space. The action mirrored similar prior clear-outs across the country. With 52 arrests for violating a downtown park curfew in Atlanta, occupiers there settled for rallying in front of banks and foreclosed houses. In Portland, Oregon, two downtown squares were cleared of encampments and surrounded with chain-link fences, closing them “for repairs.” In Salt Lake City permits allowing an encampment were revoked when a man was found dead in the park. Arrests were also involved in the Portland and Salt Lake City incidents. After an eviction with 20 ar-

See Van Jones, p. 4





What do Howie Hawkins, Jimi Hendrix, Diana Ross and Bob Marley have in common?

Ken Jackson

These individuals and groups mentioned in this column made major contributions to their craft and industry; however, they were never recognized by winning awards in their respective fields. Perhaps Hollywood awards are a little like politics. We see people strive election cycle after election cycle, some wondering out loud — “again?” Judy Garland will forever be remembered for her unique voice and performances in such classic films as “A Star is Born,” “Meet Me in St. Louis,” “Easter Parade” and of course, “The Wizard of Oz.” Glenn Close plays everything from a sick twisted stalker in “Fatal Attraction” to Cruella de Vil in “101 Dalmatians.” Who can forget Barbara Stanwyck’s roles in “Morocco,” “Shanghai Express,” “The Scarlett Empress,” “The Devil is a Woman,” “Touch of Evil” and “Desire”? Yet she was never awarded an Oscar. Global movie stars Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo and Johnny Depp have never won an Oscar. For example, Diana Ross — look up the word “Diva” in the dictionary and her photo should be there as one of the original Divas. The Supremes paved the way for all-female groups with 12 number 1 singles. Ross herself was one of the top earning performers in the 1980s, scoring six number one hits of her own, but was not a hit with Grammy voters. The Beach Boys, Chuck Berry, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, The Who, The Grateful Dead, all significant in what they achieved in their time, were not recognized by winning the coveted Grammy Award. Sometimes politics can be like the entertainment industry. Those listed above and many others have created sounds and images that moved millions and yet have never been recognized by their honored peers. I’ve said all of this to come back to my favorite topic: politics. Sometimes you win on the first shot, backed by the winds of fate and political support by an adoring community. But most of the time campaigns end like a paper airplane blown to the ground by the wind crumpled like an old lawn sign. As one who’s run and lost a few times, I can understand the frustration with attempting to contribute to the wellbeing of this overall community. Sometimes you never win the big award, “the office,” and your tireless efforts move into the dust bin of campaigns past. And then there’s Susan Lucci. Susan Lucci is best known for appearing as Erica Kane on the ABC television soap opera “All My Children” from Jan. 16, 1970, to Sept. 23, 2011. She became notoriously synonymous with never winning an Emmy. After 18 failed nominations, she finally won in 1999. Perhaps in the world of local Syracuse politics, Howie Hawkins is our Susan Lucci, destined to be the brunt of some jokes as being a “perennial candidate.” It took Lucci 18 nominations before winning her Daytime Emmy; perhaps it will take Howie Hawkins a 20th attempt to finally make it to elected office.

The Hall Monitor

December 2011

Days of absence It came as no surprise when a story was published about the lack of diversity on the Syracuse City School Board which controls a school budget of more than $350 million. Their reach is vast and powers great, especially when you look at the impact of policies that effect the education of children in a system that’s become black and brown with white students in the minority at 24 percent. Everyone is pointing fingers at the root cause of this diversity debacle, an unbelievable lack of representation where the hackneyed line “Get involved black people!” is the constant refrain. However, the fact remains that the Democratic Party in the city of Syracuse is in control of the process that nominates candidates. Like Washington, D.C., getting the democratic party nomination is tantamount to a coronation. (A

signal of a break in voting patterns would be a Hawkins “Green Party” victory this past Tuesday.) And no matter how many African-Americans attempt to participate in whatever party affiliation, the party that hosts the lion’s share of registrations in thecity of Syracuse is the Democratic Party. It has always been difficult for African-Americans and Hispanics to gain even a toe-hold on the mountain of power that stands before us, power that’s brokered by democrats. As African-Americans and other “minorities” grow in population, we’ve shrunk in some important visual roles that should represent progress. It’s not just the school board - it’s our city. Look at your television and tell me if you see any Afri-

See Roles, p. 4

Race written all over Penn State sex scandal

Like the rest of America, I found myself getting sick after reading about the sex abuse scandal at Penn State University. The detailed reports are nothing less than mortifying, and I am among those who believe that this university should pay tens of millions to victims and their families in order to make things right. I also find myself wondering if anyBy Dr. Boyce Watkins one other than former Penn Your Black World State Assistant Coach Jerry Sandusky should be going to jail over this – there appear to be numerous accomplices who should be losing more than just their jobs. But a radio conversation I had this afternoon with Santita Jackson (the daughter of Rev. Jesse Jackson) led me to reflect on the buzz that this case has suddenly created within the African American community. Black folks are increasingly concerned about the fact that many of the victims were black boys, and wondering if race created an additional layer of vulnerability. In light of this, I thought about a few things that I’m asking myself about this pathetic and tragic situation.

1)How many of those boys were black?

Many of my associates noticed that media reports of the Penn State/Sandusky sex scandal featured a great deal of code language: At-risk youth, under-privileged kids, etc. In many circles, and in a country that enjoys hiding from racial realities, these words effectively mean “Black boys.” This is supplemented by the fact that many programs to “help” black youth are also feeder programs for universities seeking to extract wealth from the extraordinary abilities of the black male athlete. Based

on my (as my friend calls it) “negro intuition,” I’m willing to bet that more than a few of these boys were black. The fact that the children might have been Black boys doesn’t make the scandal any worse than it already is. But it does create a heightened reaction from a community that is sick of seeing black men victimized in far too many walks of life. It also leads some to wonder if race played a role in Sandusky’s fetishes, or the tone of the university’s response.

2)How did NCAA economic power play a role in the cover-up?

It’s a widely-known fact that the NCAA earns hundreds of millions of dollars each year on the backs of unpaid athletes. Many of these athletes come from underprivileged communities, and already find themselves dominated by the massive financial power of this professional sports league. Yes, I said “professional:” everyone in this league makes professional money except for the individuals who actually do the work. We can’t let a mere technicality keep us from calling out the system for what it is. Former Penn State coach Joe Paterno and other administrators likely swept Sandusky’s activities under the rug because they were trying to protect their massive cash cow. In that regard, the university came to the concerted conclusion that protecting the reputation of the Penn State University football program was more important than protecting the innocence of young children. Only a keen addiction to the power of money can make a group of educated men and women do such an evil thing. If the Penn State program were truly amateur (as the NCAA would like for us to believe), there would not be millions of dollars on the line and the Penn State football program would not have an

See Penn State, p. 11

December 2011


What’s up



African-Americans in the news

Groups selected for honors at 100 Black Men of Syracuse banquet 100 Black Men of Syracuse Inc. announced today that four local organizations will be recognized Dec. 2, during its fourth annual honors banquet. Honorees for this year’s event are P.E.A.C.E., Inc.’s Big Brothers Big Sisters of Onondaga County, Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection, On Point for College and the Le Moyne College Upward Bound Program. The organizations will be cited for providing a variety of educational opportunities and other learning experiences for

area youth, particularly at-risk youth. The banquet, featuring the theme “Laying the Foundation for Tomorrow’s Leaders,” begins at 6 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Convention Center, 441 Electronics Parkway in Liverpool. “Our honorees truly exemplify our banquet theme,” said Vincent Love, president of 100 Black Men of Syracuse. “Because of their decades-long service, hundreds of young men and women were able to extend their academic careers and are now positive role models for today’s elementary, middle

school and high school students.” Proceeds from the banquet, which will feature entertainment by the musical group Soft Spoken, will be used to help support 100 Black Men of Syracuse’s youth programs and other community service activities. Banquet tickets are $50 per person in advance. Call 4438749 or e-mail to order tickets and receive additional information about sponsorship and advertising opportunities.


Celebrate the holiday season It’s the time of year when music, joy, and celebration is surrounding us. It’s a time to renew old friendships, to be with family, cherish memories, making merry. Frost and winter chills remind us of the new season. Thanksgiving reflections embrace us. Take time out of the hustle and bustle to look deeply at the real meaning of Christmas. In our diverse culture there is so much that we can share and learn from each other. We make up the global world that we live in. Sing, dance and rejoice! Plan to attend a Christmas Cantata, “The Birthday of The King” by Dr. Joan Hillsman. It is the story of the Birth of Christ unfolded with festive gospel music, liturgical dancing, spoken word, poetry and drama. This event will run for an hour starting at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9 and 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10 at Community Folk Art Center (CFAC), 805 E. Genesee St. (across from Syracuse Stage). Adults - $10, Children


...from p. 3

can-American males. Not one from what I can see. African-American women have fared better than men but that still leaves one Jackie Robinson as a news anchor who’s program is produced and broadcast from our local market. Time-Warner’s YNN is produced substantially out of Albany, NY but has a diverse anchor lineup, unmatched locally. And I can’t believe that we’ve gone from having two African-American owned FM stations to our current relegation to the AM dial as “sharecroppers”, now that’s progress! On television in the 1970’s we had greater diversity with Dennis Dowdell on channel 3 with News and Views Black Perspective, Charles Anderson was on channel 9 and for those old enough to remember Karen Franklin was Oprah before there was an Oprah with Open Line. Look at local television today and we’re again absent, they’ve even taken George Kilpatrick off television! We’ve listened to comments of self-proclaimed “independent democrat” community activists and elected members of the African-American community point fingers and deflecting blame from their own ineptitude at having any influence as active members of the democratic party. These are people who’ve been at their posts for decades, they’ve gone to the events and tasted the” hors d’oeuvres “served at lavish parties. You’ll hear more peeps out of a newborn chick than you will hear from the representative black leadership class in Syracuse, and that includes the black clergy. In the one act play Day of Absence all the black people disappear and the play is about trying to find out where they went. But in Syracuse Day of Absence is not a one-act play its reality, a way of life as the black population expands in numbers we’re disappearing from public sight.

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under 12 years - $7 Tickets are on sale now at CFAC. For information contact CFAC at 442-2230, or email Hope to see you there!

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Looking for a gift? Give the gift that lasts! “Give the gift of Music”! Dr. Joan Joan Hillsman, PhD Hillsman, a certified music professor offers Music Educator partnerships at various locations! Music lessons in music theory, church music worship trends, vocal coaching, piano for youth and adults, movement and much more is available! Affordable Rates! Inquire! Music Lesson gift certificates are available. Contact:

Van Jones rests in Denver, protestors simply moved to another park. Other cities with significant occupation presence, however, avoided police action. In Burlington, Vermont, the mayor’s office called protestors “generally cooperative” when their encampment outside City Hall was disbanded after one of them shot himself. With 150 tents set up in a downtown square in Boston, the city administration was keeping watch, but had no plans for action. With 450 tents set up on his City Hall lawn, the mayor of Los Angeles said the encampment was peaceful, but couldn’t “go on indefinitely.” Locally, there seems to have been no hassle at the Occupy Syracuse encampment adjacent to Centro’s Common Center at Salina and Fayette, in front of Chase Bank, across the street from Merrill Lynch. While some occupiers speak cynically of local authorities, most sense a go along and get along attitude, as long as they stay in their geographic space, don’t get too loud and don’t disrupt the bus riders. “I just hope our voices can be heard,” a newbie camping out at Perseverance Park for the past week reflected, “and that there will be change.” While they maintain a leaderless MO without agenda, however, the Zuccotti eviction has protestors striking new strategic postures with the creation of a multidimensional cyberspace com-

The Community Folk Art Center will celebrate 40 years from 6:30 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, April 28, 2012 at the Doubletree Hotel Syracuse 6301 State Route 298 (Carrier Circle) East Syracuse. Tickets are $100. To reserve your tickets, please send a $20 deposit to Community Folk Art Center. (Full payment must be received by Feb. 1.

...from p. 1 munications network including chatrooms, e-mails, message boards and text messages. And ersatz settlement of the urban villages is not the ultimate line in the sand. Just as the efforts of student sit-ins at southern lunch counters in the Sixties escalated into voter registration drives, agendas will emerge. In Oneida, a group marching in solidarity with the occupiers has enlisted the mayor to support a call for limiting corporate campaign contributions, public financing of presidential and congressional elections, prohibition of former elected officials immediate switch to becoming lobbyists, and collecting a fair share of taxes from that now famous wealthiest one percent. To graduate from unwieldyness, leaderlessness will also begin to fade. Van Jones, who two years ago resigned his post overseeing green-jobs programs in the Obama administration, is now working full time to coalesce student, environmental, labor, feminist, immigrant groups and organizations of color to help translate the range of Occupy movement issues into electoral results in 2012 by recruiting candidates and training volunteers as local organizers. “You talk about the Arab Spring,” Jones is fond of saying. “We could be on the verge of an American Autumn.”




Entertainment Exhibitions- Community Folk Art Center African Diasporan Treasures: 40 Years of Community Folk Art Center Community Folk Art Center prides itself on continually presenting art exhibitions that stimulate the mind and move the emotions. Since 1972, CFAC has featured exhibitions by local, national and internationally recognized artists. CFAC offers several exhibitions each year along with related programs such as artist talks, workshops and demonstrations. The exhibitions and programs give visitors a chance to not only view works of art, but also the ability to interact with artists on a more personal level. Three gallery spaces, Gallery 805, Herbert T. Williams Gallery and Corridor Gallery allow display of up to three concurrent exhibitions at one time. Recent offerings have included exhibitions featuring works by Elizabeth Catlett, Faith Ringgold, the AfriCOBRA collective, and CFAC founders David

MacDonald, Jack White and Herb Williams.

African Diasporan Treasures: 40 Years of Community Folk Art Center

This exhibition will showcase pieces from CFAC’s permanent collection in conjunction with this year’s Coming Back Together X celebration. CBT is Syracuse University’s triennial reunion of African-American and Latino alumni, presented by the Office of Program Development. Featuring over 30 works by artists including Joel Gaines, Ellen Oppler, Jack White, Denise Cole and Kamiiron Pritchard, African Diasporan Treasures provides a rare opportunity for visitors to experience the rich artistic history of CFAC. In many cases, the pieces have not been displayed for decades. The show will also feature African art

The show will feature more than 30 works by artists including Joel Gaines, Ellen Oppler, Jack White, Denise Cole and Kamiiron Pritchard. that was once part of the Smithsonian Museum’s collection. The exhibition will be on display at CFAC until Saturday, Dec. 10.

Top 10 television shows that could be produced in Syracuse By Ken Jackson

Since we are now aware of the presence of a producer whose written for such iconic shows as “Newheart,” “Murphy Brown” and...others, why not help them by suggesting the Top 10 shows that could be produced right here in Syracuse? 1. “Everybody Loves Syracuse” - A cast of whining residents hangout at a local diner complaining. The zany antics of those who have a love hate relationship with our city. “It’s too cold, it’s too hot.” The same lot will cheer any Syracuse University sports team as long as they’re winning. When they don’t win, watch out, “Get a new coach”. Instead of being Green or Salty our new moniker could be “Home of the fair weathered fan.” 2. “Good Times”- filmed in the old Kennedy Square complex. Watch as Tyler Perry style meets Central New York as the star character shouts, “hallelui-e,” being poor can be fun and full of laughs. 3. “The New Mary Tyler Moore” - Who can

turn the world on with her smile? A meteorologist at a Central New York Television station who hates snow. “You’re gonna make it after all....” 4. “All In the Family” - A young coed’s job search goes haywire in Syracuse when she realizes that she’s not related to anyone. Damn that DNA! Imagine the theme song... “Boy the way DeSantis payed, TV’s that my grandma made...mister we could use a man like Lee Alexander again”. 5. “Mr. Ed” - A talking horse escapes from the Equine Show at the New York State Fairgrounds and takes up residence at a home in Eastwood who makes regular trips to the Walgreens and no one notices. 6. “CSI: Unforgettable Syracuse”- The star of the new CBS series features a detective that can’t forget anything will relocate back to Syracuse and stares at old crime photos looking for a clue. Tom Cruse will return to his birthplace to star with former Miss America, Vanessa Williams who’ll play the lead investigator. 7. “Love Boat” - Based on the beloved “Love

Boat” series where in each episode a former bigtime star will take up residence at our new resort casino. The casino is housed in a huge replica of an Erie Canal boat, anchored at the new DestiNY Mall. Join them each week as a new celebrity moves in and finds love and Eastern Equine Encephalitis by the shores of Onondaga Lake. 8. “Survivor: Syracuse” - Public officials from Republican and Democratic parties team up to live for 90 days on medicaid, EBT cards, no transportation and substandard housing. The winner gets $1,000,000 for their favorite charity. 9. “The West Wing” - The Syracuse Common Council has taken over the planning function for the city of Syracuse. As first course of action, the members toss darts at a map of the city to confirm their decisions. With assistance from “Donkey” and other characters from the movie “Shrek” they take over the city. 10. “60 Minutes” - A reality show that shows in real time automobiles traversing the Clinton Square traffic during a festival.

‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ at Syracuse Stage The war is on and the bombs are falling. Four children – Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy – flee the perils of the Blitz to the safety of the countryside. In an old wardrobe they discover a portal to the land of Narnia, where a fearsome White Witch holds the inhabitants spellbound in a winter lasting 100 years. There the children enter a deadly struggle, joining with the great lion, Aslan, to battle the White Witch and her army. Commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company and rarely produced State-side, this thrilling musical adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ inspiring tale delivers excitement for the whole family. Recom-

mended for ages 6 and up. Running Nov. 25 through Dec.31, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” will be performed in the Archbold Theatre at Syracuse Stage, 820 East Genesee Street. It is co-produced with Syracuse University’s Department of Drama. Tickets range $18-$50 and are available at the Syracuse Stage Box Office, 443-3275 or SyracuseStage. org. Sponsors are Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, HSBC, Hiscock & Barclay, and Residence Inn Marriott. Media sponsors are Eagle Newspapers,, WAER, and WCNY.

December 2011

The Black Lites to host party Syracuse’s premier rhythm & blues band, The Black Lites, will get the dance floor hopping at its R&B Christmas Party from 8 p.m. to midnight Saturday, Dec. 17 at the Goodtime Banquet Hall, 526 Teall Ave., in Syracuse. The Dec. 17 holiday dance party is open to the public. Admission costs $20 in advance or $25 at the door, and that price includes a buffet and coffee. Legal beverages will be available for sale at the Goodtime Banquet Hall bar, located on the top floor of Klub Polski, the Polish-American Citizens Club. The 11-piece combo which first formed in 1974 performs highly danceable, horndriven arrangements of songs such as “My Girl,” “Sex Machine” and “Brick House.” On Dec. 17, the Lites will embellish their set list with add a few seasonal favorites. The Black Lites include vocalists Eddie Brown, Jerry Patterson, Rod Little and James Patterson, guitarists Manny Atkins and Slick Rick Woods, drummer Michael Jackson, bassist Jimmy Spivey, keyboardist DeQuan Bowens, saxophonist Dave Frateschi, trumpeter Kenny Case and trombonist Rich Racculia. Veteran nightclub owner and bandleader Mickey Vendetti opened the Goodtime Banquet Hall earlier this year to host family reunions, graduation parties, showers, wedding receptions and dance parties. The spacious dining room and hardwood dance floor can accommodate parties of up to 400. On Saturday, Dec. 17, the hall will be decked out with holiday ornaments and Christmas wreaths. For tickets to the R&B Christmas bash, call Vendetti at 345-1002, or purchase them from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily at Gilligan’s Pub, 3601 James St. For information, visit

Tis the season for thanksgiving

This year has been tough on almost everyone because of the economy and the high unemployment. Americans are a very resilient people. Even during troubling times, they are always ready to lend a hand to someone who needs help and is struggling. A great way to help a person or an animal in need is to donate a car you do not use anymore to charity. The process is very simple, the pickup is free and the rewards are great. In return for your generous donation, you will get the gift of a tax deduction when you itemize on your federal tax return. You will find hundreds of worthy charities to support with your car donation at Cars4Charities. For complete details, please call toll free 1.866.448.3487 or log onto

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Community News

Tops finalizing lease for Valley Plaza store Mayor Stephanie A. Miner announced that Ellicott Development Company and Tops Friendly Markets are finalizing the terms of a lease that will allow Tops Friendly Markets to open a new supermarket in Valley Plaza on South Salina Street. Tops’ execution of a lease with Ellicott Development will be contingent upon SIDA’s agreement to extend a $275,000 grant for this project. SIDA was scheduled to discuss Tops’ request for $275,000 in City by City funding on Tuesday Nov. 15 at its monthly board meeting at 8:30 a.m. “My administration has worked tirelessly with Tops and Ellicott Development over the last several months to move this project forward,” said Syracuse Mayor Stephanie A. Miner. “Attracting a grocery

store to Valley Plaza has been at the forefront of our economic development efforts since day one and I commend Tops and Ellicott Development for being flexible and focused partners.” “We are looking forward to opening a Tops Markets in Valley Plaza and serving the grocery needs of the City of Syracuse,” said Frank Curci, Tops’ president and CEO. “Funding approval and finalization of the lease agreement are the next steps in this process and I’d like to thank Mayor Miner, the City of Syracuse and Ellicott Development for working closely with us on this project to assure that residents of the city have access to fresh, wholesome food options.” “Our community deserves to have ac-

cess to a full-service grocery store,” said Third District Councilor Ryan McMahon. “I am pleased to be working with the Miner administration to do everything we can to bring Tops into Valley Plaza. Securing Tops as an anchor in Valley Plaza will help fill and improve an empty storefront, provide a much-needed amenity for residents in the Valley and the South Side and bring jobs to our community.” In May, SIDA approved a PILOT agreement and other tax exemptions for 2468 Group, Inc., which owns Valley Plaza and is an affiliate of Ellicott Development. The Syracuse Common Council unanimously approved the PILOT agreement on May 23. SIDA also approved a sales tax exemption on construction materials for Tops Markets

in May. The Miner administration worked with Tops and Ellicott Development over the last several months to identify the City by City grant as a source of funding available through SIDA. Ellicott Development has already begun some renovations in Valley Plaza and Citi Trends has opened a new business there. “Ellicott Development Company thanks SIDA, ESDC, and especially Mayor Miner and her administration for their support and efforts in bringing Tops Markets to the Valley Plaza location,” said Ellicott Development Company Chief Executive Officer Bill Paladino. “Tops and Citi Trends will be the anchor tenants in our ongoing redevelopment of the plaza.”

New Yorkers urged to be heat smart this winter The New York State Public Service Commission recently received a report from staff of the Department of Public Service outlining its outreach and education plan for the 2011-12 heating season. The plan highlights the activities that are being carried out by staff on behalf of the Commission to ensure that consumers are aware of the actions they can take and the programs they can participate in to reduce their energy usage and help control their winter energy bills. The staff ’s outreach and education program provides information on the two most important subjects related to managing winter heating bills-how to reduce usage in no-and-low-cost ways, and how to access financial assistance to help pay heating bills. The outreach and education program’s key messages focus on informing consumers about: financial assistance programs; bill payment options; energy efficiency programs and how to participate; and

simple, affordable energy saving tips that can reduce energy costs and increase comfort. This program will include plain-language publications, grassroots outreach at public events, speaking presentations, partnerships with consumer and service organizations, and features the commission’s consumer website. Energy Saving Tips • Keep the cold air outside and warm air in by making sure attics are properly insulated, and by adding caulking and weather-stripping around doors and windows. • Install inexpensive styrofoam or foam rubber gaskets behind light switch receptacle covers on exterior walls. • Install storm or thermal windows and doors, or heat shrink plastic sheeting over windows. • Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators as needed. Make sure they are not blocked by furniture,

carpeting, or drapes. • Open drapes during the day to capture warmth and close them at night to prevent heat loss through windows. • Have your heating system cleaned and inspected by a qualified contractor. • If your heating system has a filter, clean or replace it every month during the heating season. • Install an automatic setback thermostat to turn the heating system up and down at pre-set times to maintain comfort and lower heating costs. • Shut off the heat in unused rooms and close the fireplace damper when the fireplace is not in use. The Commission’s statewide energy efficiency programs are available through the New York State Energy Research Development and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and your local utility. More information on NYSERDA-administered programs is available or by calling toll-free 1-877 NY-Smart.

Additionally, contact your local utility for information on the company’s energy efficiency programs; look for their phone number and/or website address on your utility bill. The Public Service Law and Commission regulations provide a wide range of consumer protections regarding electric and natural gas utility service. The New York State Home Energy Fair Practices Act (HEFPA) provides certain cold weather protections during the period Nov. 1 through April 15 regarding utility service terminations, service reconnections and deferred payment agreements and other related matters. More information concerning HEFPA can be found by visiting the Commission’s consumer website or by calling toll-free 1-888-Ask-PSC1 (1-888275-7721). Additional assistance can be obtained by calling the Department of Public Service call center Helpline tollfree at 1-800-342-3377.

Christmas 2011: Birth of a new tradition As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods - merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor. This year will be different. This year Americans will

give the gift of genuine concern for other Americans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands. Yes there is! It’s time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in a

shirt box, wrapped in foreign produced wrapping paper? Everyone - yes everyone gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your local American hair salon or barber? Gym membership? It’s appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some

health improvement. Who wouldn’t appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, American owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of gift

See Tradition, p. 10


Church News Worship: Should we be participants or spectators? By Daniel from

I walked into the massive building, gleaming with steel and glass and bustling with people. From the brightly-lit entrance room, I walked into the dim auditorium. Neon lights illuminated the stage; fog machines generated a hazy aura. Stage workers scurried across the vast platform, hurriedly prepping for the big event. Suddenly, the house lights dimmed to darkness, the stage lights surged in brightness, and then it started… It began with a whoosh of percussion and the twang of an electric guitar. The show was on! Most of the crowd stood to their feet in eager expectation. The music crescendoed as the band on the platform rushed into action. Triple screens at the front of the auditorium displayed a close-up of the vocalist’s hands gripping a mic. She started singing, with eyes closed and one hand lifted high. I was in a megachurch on a Sunday morning. It was my first time to attend this church, so I was not totally sure of what to expect. When the music started, I stood up, since that’s what most of the people around me did. I wasn’t sure whether I should sing or not. The lyrics were displayed on the screen, but I didn’t hear anyone around me singing. I cast some sidelong glances at people’s faces to see if they were singing or not. Couple to my left: no. Girl in front of me: no. Guy behind me and to the right: no. Girl behind me and to the left: barely singing…or was it just mouthing the words? So, was this more of a concert than a worship service? I decided that I probably shouldn’t sing. No need to draw attention to myself. So I just stood there trying to feel reverent and look worshipful (even though I felt pretty awkward). The song transitioned into a more wellknown worship song, and a few more people started mouthing the words…or singing. (I’m not sure.) It was hard to tell, because the volume on the music was turned up so loud.

I am still not sure whether I was supposed to sing or not in that worship service. Maybe it’s different in each worship service or concerts…or whatever they’re called. I guess it just depends on the church…or venue. But my quandary brings up a question that goes deeper than just whether or not I was supposed to sing or not.

Are We Worship Participants or Spectators?

It brings up a question of worship. In “worship,” are we supposed to be participants or spectators? The concern addressed in this article is that many churches, regardless of their traditional or contemporary bent, cater towards a spectator mentality in the worship service. If it’s called a worship service, should there not be more worship going on? Sure, the spectator mentality may not be created intentionally, but it is happening, nonetheless.

How does spectator worship happen?

•In contemporary churches. Often, contemporary churches create a concert atmosphere. From the style of the music to the construction of the building, there is a feel that is remarkably similar to a concert or a theater experience. In theaters and concerts, the audience is not required to participate in any integral way beyond swaying, laughing, or staying awake. Often, it’s the same way in these worship services. The band exhibits their talent and prowess. The people sitting in the theater seats listen. •In Traditional Churches. Many traditional services have hymn-singing by the “audience.” Often, however, the experience is one of reading the words or notation on the page, but not engaging in worship. Many traditional services have a choir that sings a song while the attendees listen. Other times, there is “special music” by a soloist or ensemble. The best part, of course, is the “offertory” where a talented musician plays his or her instrument during the passing of the plate and everyone listens to the performance.

Both models have advantages and disadvantages depending on the context. Yet both run the risk of catering to a spectator mentality in worship. And what’s the real problem with spectator worship? I submit that spectator worship is not true worship at all.

Three problems with spectator worship

1. Spectators tend to be disengaged. Disengaged worship is not true worship at all. When we become disengaged from the very focus of our gathering, and disengaged from the very Person whom we are coming to honor, we might as well not even be present. Showing up physically in worship is no substitute for being mentally absent. 2. Spectators are prone to a consumerism. It’s pretty common to bemoan the “consumer mindset” in American Christian culture, so I’m not going to belabor that point. It is important, however, to recognize the fact that spectator worship is probably a symptom of the consumer mindset which has crept into our churches, and sadly our “worship.” Think about it. Is worship a consumer commodity? Yikes. 3. Spectators tend toward an entertainment mentality. Worship is not the same thing entertainment. Unfortunately, the whole approach of much of our “worship services” is nothing more than entertainment with a Christian sheen. Does more fog, brighter spotlights, Bose speakers, and a better distorter mean better worship? Does the finesse of the choir director’s flourishing movements, the skill of the soloist, or the rapidity of the pianist’s arpeggios really constitute a better worship experience? Does it truly bringing more honor and glory to God if you play your violin or bass guitar with more skill than the next guy? All three of these problems undermine true worship. In effect, then, it seems our whole culturally-constructed modes of worship actually distract from true worship. Can it be that our “worship services” are failing to meet the whole

See Worship, p. 10

December 2011

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December 2011





...from p. 9

objective for their existence? Can it be that this is happening in your church? This Sunday in a church near you… Contemporary: The worship leader calls for the audience to worship: ”C’mon now! Lift your hands up everybody! Can I hear you shout to the Lord now? Alright, put your hands together on this one! Let me hear it!” Traditional: The song leader calls for the audience to worship: ”Let us wor-

ship the Lord together. Please turn in your hymnals to hymn number 438. Let’s all stand as we sing. Standing, please, number 438.” Perhaps the best first-step to recalibrating our “worship”—becoming participants rather than spectators—is to define what worship really is. So, what is true worship? Does it really consist of music? Does it really require a band playing

worship songs? Does it mean that we raise our hands? Does it mean that we sing? Does worship even require a “worship service?” •If you are a leader in your church, you would serve your church well by discovering what worship is. Search the Scriptures for answers, not what other churches are doing. Try to pry your cultural fixations away from biblical truth

about worship. Then, boldly and gently make the necessary corrections in your local church. •If you are not a leader, and have slipped into spectator mode in your church, you can still worship God regardless of what’s going on around you. Rather than react in frustration to the perceived lack of worship, you can engage in worship personally. You are free to worship God.


...from p. 8

certificates. Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plunking down the Benjamins on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course. There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants - all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended isn’t the fancy eatery sort, what about a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint. Remember, folks this isn’t about big National chains -- this is about supporting your home town Americans with

their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open. How many people couldn’t use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy? Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would love the services of a local cleaning lady for a day. My computer could use a tune-up, and I know I can find some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running. Ok, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin their own

wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery and beautiful wooden boxes. Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at your hometown theatre. Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands. Honestly, people, do you really need to buy another ten thousand Chinese made lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of lights, about fifty cents stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks to burn, leave the mailman, trash

guy or babysitter a nice big tip. You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so that China and others can build glittering cities. Christmas is now about caring about US, encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams. And, when we care about other Americans, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn’t imagine. This is the new American Christmas tradition. This is a revolution of caring about each other, and isn’t that what Christmas is about? -anonymous


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December 2011

Penn State economic value that matches many professional sports organizations. This would have made a difference in the degree to which administrators felt pressured to make unethical decisions to protect a billion dollar brand. In other words, the Penn State University sex scandal was yet another example of just how far NCAA members are willing to go in order to protect their wealth. The Penn State/Sandusky child sex scandal is simply among the worst and latest of a slew of ethical compromises regularly made by universities that earn millions from collegiate athletics. Over the last 20 years, I’ve seen students taken out of classes for big games, having their majors changed to fit their football schedules, and even leaving college without ever learning how to read with administrators hiding the fact that the star on the team barely knows his A-B-Cs. The pattern is reprehensible, and reminds us of how NCAA athletic money has served to corrupt numerous institutions, turning them into a glaring hypocritical embodiment of capitalism gone wild.


...from p. 3 would have been swept under the rug had a black coach (or athlete) been found abusing a young white kid in the showers in the same manner as Jerry Sandusky. Would the free passes Sandusky has received from the judge (who volunteered with his charity), prosecutors and the university have come to pass if the situation has been shaped differently? While we might presume that any Penn State coach would have been protected in the same way, it’s not difficult to speculate that race might

be a factor in a case such as this. Only time will tell how Penn State University overcomes one of the most tragic scandals in the history of college sports. But I hold to the premise that these kids were sold out for money, and it is for this reason that we should all be ashamed. Money and power can tarnish the soul, and the soul of Penn State University has been corrupted for all eternity.

3) Did race play a role in the way Penn State responded to the abuse?

4) What if Jerry Sandusky was a black man having sex with white boys?

While I hold that we don’t know the race of all the abused children, I truly believe that many of these young men were black. While the race of the victim has no impact on the severity or relevance of the crime, it has been proven in numerous academic studies that race does impact the magnitude of the punishment. For example, had OJ Simpson not killed a white woman, his case would have been in the media for about a week. The NCAA has ruined the careers of numerous black male athletes over even the tiniest of infractions: Getting free tattoos, taking a few hundred dollars from a booster, or asking to be compensated in a manner that is remotely consistent with their massive market value. You would expect that an institution (the NCAA) that has the ability to catch an athlete taking free lunch would also be able to identify a man who has been sexually abusing children in campus facilities for decades. The truth, however, is that we tend to only find the things that we’re actually looking for, and I suspect that the desire to protect young men and women hardly inspires as much passion as the NCAA’s desire to protect its money – for example, the NCAA has no problem seeing the star player’s mother being evicted rather than share its money with the players and their families. I can’t help but wonder if the Penn State scandal

With excellent teachers the Syracuse EOC opened doors for me that other schools could not. It provided me with a wonderful opportunity to learn new skills and advance my ĞĚƵĐĂƟŽŶ͕ĂŶĚ my life. ŽƵŶĐŝůǁŽŵĂŶ,ĞůĞŶ,ƵĚƐŽŶ͕ President of Mothers Against Gun Violence and Co-Director of the Syracuse Trauma Response Team. 1987 Syracuse EOC alumna - Business Administration & Management Certificate Program


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One can only hope that race wasn’t a factor in the decision of leading Penn State officials to overlook a serial child predator in their ranks. But African Americans have good reason to be concerned and skeptical. When black kids go missing, the media almost never notices. When black children are being shot in “the hood,” nobody cares. Black men are incarcerated at holocaust proportions, but few politicians show even a hint of concern. In light of these realities, it’s not entirely inconceivable that Sandusky chose his targets for the same reason that many serial killers murder prostitutes with no family…’s easy to get away with the unthinkable when you go after the victim that no one cares about. This leads me to my final question……

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