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MARCH 2018




Respite care and how to get it When you get ‘the call’ from school What Camillus offers

Living with Angelman

A child copes with the rare disorder

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Getting respite care can be done, but it’s a challenge.



In search of teens’ stories about mental illness.



A child and his family navigate life with Angelman syndrome, a rare genetic disorder.



Explore what Camillus has to offer.

ATYPICAL FAMILY What it’s like to get ‘the call’ from school.




MARCH 2018















MARCH 2018 | ISSUE NO. 191



Every year since 2009 we’ve offered an issue with a focus on special needs, in which several of the stories explore aspects of having a child with an illness, delay or disability. Our cover kid is Evan Bomgren, age 3, who has Angelman syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that has pervasive effects on Evan and his family—his mother, father and 5-year-old brother. In the story and sidebar on page 12, Tammy DiDomenico writes about the Bomgrens’ lives and what the prospects are for a cure for Angelman syndrome. In another story, Tami Scott researched Central New York options for respite—temporary care for kids with severe disorders—so families can take a break (page 6). There’s also information on the types of respite available and which agencies to contact for help. Also: Deborah Cavanagh talks about “the call”—when the phone rings to tell you that your kid has done something disruptive at school (page 20); and Maggie Lamond Simone explains her latest project, an anthology of essays by teens with mental illness (page 10). Finally, in this issue we introduce a new feature, a community profile. This month we explore Camillus, a suburb with a combination of rural charm and easy access to urban amenities (page 16).

Bill Brod EDITOR IN CHIEF Reid Sullivan MANAGING EDITOR Bill DeLapp PHOTOGRAPHY EDITOR Michael Davis CIRCULATION DIRECTOR Tom Tartaro (ext. 134) CREATIVE SERVICES MANAGER Robin Barnes GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Greg Minix Rachel Barry DIGITAL MARKETING MANAGER Aaron Scattergood CONTRIBUTORS Deborah Cavanagh, Tammy DiDomenico, Aaron Gifford, Eileen Gilligan, Linda Lowen, Maggie Lamond Simone, Laura Livingston Snyder, Chris Xaver SALES MANAGER Tim Hudson (ext. 114) ADVERTISING CONSULTANTS Elizabeth Fortune (ext. 116) Paige Hart (ext. 111)


Lesli Mitchell (ext. 140)


Ryann Nolan (ext. 146)




Evan Bomgren, age 3, lives in Baldwinsville with his family.



Evan—walking with the help of his mother, Kristina—has Angelman syndrome. He, his parents and his brother are the subject of the profile on page 12.

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Getting a Break Parents of kids with significant special needs can receive respite care | BY TAMI SCOTT


veryone needs a break from the stressors of daily life. Sometimes, however, that time off requires help from someone else. For parents of children with developmental disabilities, the idea of taking a pause can be particularly daunting. But it can be done, with the help of publicly funded family support programs. Camillus resident Leanne Morphet’s son, Zachary, 11, was diagnosed at age 2 with autism, by which he is profoundly affected. In addition to being nonverbal, he wrestles with other medical conditions, such as ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Leanne and her husband also have a 13-year-old daughter in middle school. The family began using respite care a few years ago through Casey’s Place, a site-based provider operated by Elmcrest Children’s Center. Zachary goes weekly on Tuesdays after school as well as

during school breaks. He doesn’t like crowds, so taking him to the mall or another popular site for kids would be too stressful. “If we didn’t have Casey’s Place, he would be like anybody would be, he gets cabin fever. He goes a little crazy without being able to have that place to go,” Morphet says. It’s also a time for her to recharge. “When I have to go back in and take care of him, I have my wits about me. I’m not feeling tired. I just had that mental break.” The amount of care for people with severe developmental disabilities is huge. Zachary, for instance, needs 24/7 supervision. “He has to be within our line of sight all the time,” Morphet says. “That’s a pretty intense, energy-expending level of care you have to give, so to have (respite) is really great. I want to be the best I can be for him. It helps me to do that.” continued on page 8

HIGHLIGHTS OF LOCAL RESPITE PROGRAMS Currently, there are more than a dozen nonprofit agencies in and around Onondaga County that offer respite programs, and the types can differ significantly. Casey’s Place provides overnight, school break, after-school, summer and weekend daytime respite programs throughout the year. Clients are children with developmental disabilities or children with complex medical conditions who qualify for nursing-level care. Care-at-Home is a case management program for medically fragile children. Casey’s Place is one of the only medical respites in New York. Most respite centers do not serve medically complex children. 6

EFR offers the Take-a-Break Family Respite. The program provides in-home care for the individual with a disability as well as any siblings. This is unique in that most services can only provide care for the person with a disability. This service allows the parents to have a break from all their kids. AccessCNY offers outreach services that cover a wide range of programs including Service Access Assistance, Family Supports, Respitality, summer camp and reimbursements. AccessCNY is also in the process of bringing Spaulding Support Services, which has two standalone respite homes, into its agency.



David’s Refuge, located in Manlius, offers a bed-and-breakfast retreat for parents/guardians who care for children of any age with special needs. Arise, Inc. provides after-school respite in Onondaga and Madison counties, as well as in-home respite for Onondaga, Madison and Oswego counties. To learn more about what each agency offers, how services are funded, as well as eligibility/requirements, contact the agency directly.

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continued from page 6 Zachary recently stayed at Casey’s Place for the first time overnight. Morphet and her husband took the opportunity to spend time with their daughter, taking her to the mall and out for a meal. “All eyes were on her for a change,” she says. “We talked to her about her life and gave her the attention she certainly deserves.” Numerous nonprofit agencies throughout Onondaga County, in coordination with the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), offer respite care in a variety of forms. These range from in-home and away-from-home care, to overnights, weekend getaways and reimbursements for privately hired caregivers. To obtain such services, however, there is a process. Depending on variables such as needs and availability, it can be a long, tedious and frustrating journey. In the end, though, it is worth the time, effort and perseverance, as Morphet can attest. “Although (Zachary) was eligible for respite when he was younger, we didn’t access actual respite until a few years ago,” she says. “This was due to getting on approved lists, then finding providers, and administrative issues.” Doreen Wall, of Brewerton, had a similar delay due to the approval process and wait lists. Her son, Nicholas, now 14, was 11 years old when he began receiving respite care through Exceptional Family Resources (EFR) in Syracuse. Nicholas was diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome as an infant. He is cognitively impaired and has sensory issues. Doreen and her husband fostered him when he was 14 months old, and adopted him at age 4. “It’s worth the wait and perseverance,” says Wall, who commends the EFR staff for its support and response to requests

and concerns. Nicholas now receives respite care on Thursdays and every other Saturday. The care workers pick him up from home and have fun activities planned and geared toward his own preferences. For instance, Nicholas loves school buses, his mother says, so one of the care workers would find ways to interest him through that. They’d drive by the school bus garage or visit places that housed buses or trucks. She once brought him to see a helicopter. For Nicholas, the routine is now expected and anticipated. “He knows when they’re coming and he really looks forward to it.” And respite for the rest of the Wall family? They used to clean the house of paper piles and magazine stacks that Nicholas collected and clung to from the grocery store. “When he’d go to respite, we’d say, ‘Quick, let’s throw everything out!’” Wall says with a little laugh, noting he never missed the mess upon his return. These days, they take advantage of respite to spend time with their other adopted son, Alex, 13, Nicholas’ biological brother. “Now it’s Alex’s time.”

Getting respite care The first step is to obtain eligibility for the person with the developmental disability. This is the gateway to accessing OPWDD services in New York state. Qualifying developmental disabilities include intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, traumatic brain injury prior to age 21 and other neurological impairments. To gain information on the eligibility process, families are advised to contact the Front Door program through OPWDD (see sidebar for contact information). Front Door gives an initial introduction to the process. An informational session gives families the opportunity to learn about the

supports and services available and how to access them. Once the person has OPWDD eligibility, he will be referred to an agency that provides Medicaid service coordination to start the application process for the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Waiver, commonly referred to as just the “Medicaid waiver.” The Medicaid waiver is not income-qualified, rather, it’s based on disability and is required across the board by agencies that provide services for people with developmental disabilities that require OPWDD eligibility. Not all programs require this waiver, but most do. Medicaid service coordinators (MSC) are the hand-holders, so to speak. They support families by providing information, answering questions, evaluating needs, finding suitable programs, providing oversight and advocacy. They are also the people who place applicant names on waiting lists for respite care. “Agencies can only take on certain case loads so it’s up to (MSCs) to put you on these lists,” Leanne Morphet says. “MSCs will know what agencies currently have available. . . and you can tell your MSC to put your name on multiple lists and take what’s first available.” For instance, Doreen Wall uses Advocates, Inc., for Medicaid Service Coordination, but all her son’s services come through EFR. “(Our) MSC said, ‘We can arrange respite hours for you as soon as we have an opening, so whatever agency has a first opening, we will take,’ she said. “EFR had respite hours available. So that’s how we (arrived) there.” Tami Scott is a freelance writer in Central New York.

RESPITE AGENCIES AND OTHER RESOURCES OPWDD Front Door. (315) 7939600, Ext. 603. To download a Services Resource Booklet, go to Services & Supports, Front Door, Resources for Individuals and Families, then click on Access to Services Resource Booklet.

Arc of Onondaga. 600 S. Wilbur Ave., Syracuse. webinfo@arcon. org. (315) 476-7441.

AccessCNY. (in process of merging with Spaulding Support Services, which has two standalone respite homes). 1603 Court St., Syracuse. (315) 455-7591.

Catholic Charities Neighborhood Centers. 1654 W. Onondaga St., Syracuse. (315) 472-6343.

Advocates, Inc. 636 Old Liverpool Road, Liverpool. carol@advocatesincorporated. org. (315) 469-9931.


Arise Child and Family Service, Inc. 635 James St., Syracuse. (315) 472-3171.

Casey’s Place (Elmcrest). 228 Lafayette Road, Syracuse. (315) 492-9990, Ext. 202. Cayuga Centers. 101 Hamilton Ave, Auburn. (315) 253-5383.



David’s Refuge. 8195 Cazenovia Road, Manlius. davidsrefuge@ (315) 682-4204.

The Kelberman Center. 50 Presidential Plaza, Suite 102, Syracuse. (315) 797-6241.

Exceptional Family Resources (EFR). 1820 Lemoyne Ave., Syracuse. (315) 478-1462. For the 2017-2018 Resource Manual for Onondaga County and Surrounding Areas, go to and scroll to the bottom of the page to download. Hard copies are available at EFR.

PEACE, Inc. Emma L. Johnston Southside Family Resource Center. 202 S. Beech St., Syracuse. (315) 470-3342.

H.O.M.E., Inc. (Humanitarian Organization for Multicultural Experience). 831 James St., Syracuse. (315) 472-5110.

Spaulding Support Services (in process of merging with AccessCNY). 6520 Basile Rowe, East Syracuse. (315) 478-6210. Crystal House, 104 E. Beard Ave., Syracuse. (315) 424-3851. Guest House, 241 Beattie St., Syracuse. (315) 478-5254.

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My daughter and one of her friends presented a program for teens about mental illness. My daughter spoke about the impact of living with OCD and anxiety: what a panic attack feels like, and how kids can help someone having an attack or experiencing an obsessive fear. Her friend talked about what it’s like to have a friend with those issues, and how best to help them through an episode. What these girls demonstrated, simply by talking, is that mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of.

Teens, Telling Their Stories Young people can (finally) talk about mental illness BY MAGGIE LAMOND SIMONE


hildren should be seen and not heard.”

That was one of the prevailing parenting tips of past generations. When I was a kid, I learned not to share my thoughts, feelings and problems. I kept my troubles—depression, anxiety, OCD, an eating disorder—inside, eventually seeking relief as an adult in the office of a therapist. That was when I realized the effort of hiding had caused me to miss half my life. Through the years I’ve learned that one way to banish the stigma of mental illness is to share stories—mine and others’. I remember being a parent of young children, writing about problems I was having with one child or another, and receiving letters and emails from other parents saying, “Oh my God! Yes! I didn’t

know anyone else’s child did that!” I was reassured to find out that other parents faced the same stuff. The encouragement I felt by sharing my ordinary parenting challenges led me to find the courage to write a memoir. In 2015, Body Punishment: OCD, Addiction and Finding the Courage to Heal was published. Once I had opened the book on my life, I felt free; it was as though I could finally start living. The response from others with similar issues was worth the wrenching years it took me to write the book. And I found that feeling of being flawed evaporated with the support of my peers. Peer support can be an invaluable tool for teens with mental illness as well. One in five teens suffers from mental illness, according to the latest statistics

The results of the presentations were overwhelming. Kids wanted to hear these stories so they could begin to understand others, and kids with mental health issues began to see the strength that comes from not being ashamed. With mental illness, the shame doesn’t come from having it; the shame comes from feeling that we have to hide it. The seed was planted for an anthology I’m editing, to be called All In My Head: Stories of Living with Mental Illness. . . by Kids, for Kids. Letting teens share their stories could diminish the shame that still haunts society. I want to give them the chance to feel the freedom of talking about their issues, and I want other teens to understand what their friends and classmates go through. In that sharing and understanding, the stigma cannot survive. As one teen, a Baldwinsville senior who has already submitted an essay, says: “I wanted to contribute to a project that young people could find and relate to. Having a visual representation of the sheer commonality of, in my case, depression in teens would have been very helpful to me, as well as people’s openness to speak about it. I hope this book shows that although our individual experiences might differ, the issue of teen mental illness is a pervasive one.”

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from the National Alliance on Mental Illness ( Who knew? My daughter—who struggles with obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety—was surprised. There was little conversation about it among her peers. She thought it might be helpful to talk to them, and we approached the school district with an idea.

Removing the stigma that surrounds mental illness is a slow process, but we can move it along. We can encourage each other— and our children—to talk openly. We can recognize that mental illness may be a part of who we are—a part that has to be managed, just like having a speech impediment or asthma—but that does not define us or devalue us. By telling their tales, teens can avoid missing out on life by hiding those parts. Times, fortunately, are changing. We now know that kids these days need to be seen AND heard—by adults, and by each other.

Maggie Lamond Simone is an award-winning writer and mother of two living in Baldwinsville. Reach her at

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS! Submission guidelines for All In My Head can be found at • Contributors must be ages 13 to 18 on Jan. 1, 2018, to submit. • Anonymity offered. • Essays 750 to 2,000 words. • Writing prompts offered on website.

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Kristina and Justin Bomgren live in Baldwinsville with their two children, Evan, 3, and Dominick, 5. Evan has Angelman syndrome.

Having Angelman

One family struggles with a son’s genetic disorder | BY TAMMY DiDOMENICO


ight near the front door of Justin and Kristina Bomgren’s Baldwinsville home hangs a recent photo of their two sons. Dominick, 5, is bright-eyed with shiny, dark hair. Evan, 3, is fair-haired with a kind, peaceful face. Both boys are smiling, clearly delighted in each other’s company. Hair color aside, there is a clear family resemblance. But what the photo doesn’t show is that Evan is living with Angelman syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that affects the nervous system. He is an adorable toddler who smiles a lot and loves to be the center of attention. But he also suffers from seizures and digestive problems. His walking is unsteady, and although he can comprehend much of what is said to him, Evan has only uttered one word so far: Mom. “His receptive language is very good, and he is generally well tempered unless he is ill,” Kristina says. “He can generally get his point across.” Diagnosing Angelman syndrome is challenging, and children who present symp12

toms are often misdiagnosed with other disorders like autism or cerebral palsy. Kristen, a reading teacher with the Central Square Central School district, says that she and her husband, Justin, a reading teacher in the Fulton City School district, first noticed symptoms in Evan when he was about 3 weeks old. Feeding Evan was challenging and Kristina knew that he was not thriving. “They thought it was a milk-protein allergy, so we tried multiple formulas and milks, and still he wasn’t gaining weight,” Kristina recalls. “He was growing in height, but not weight. They wanted to put a feeding tube in him, but we refused. I was literally feeding him with a syringe.” By the age of 6 months, Evan was not hitting developmental milestones. He could not hold his head up and was still not gaining weight. At about a year old, the seizures started. The Bomgrens were referred to a genetic specialist and at 13 months, doctors found a deletion on Evan’s 15th chromosome.


This led to an initial diagnosis of Prader-Willi syndrome. After further testing, Evan was diagnosed with Angelman syndrome in May 2016. Since then, the Bomgrens’ lives have become a whirlwind of self-education and precision scheduling. They travel to Boston twice a year to see a neurologist and a dietician who specialize in Angelman syndrome. Evan currently receives ABA (applied behavior analysis) and early intervention therapies—such as speech, occupational and physical therapy—six days a week. Kristina and Justin are constantly looking for ways to lessen Evan’s seizures. And they work with a nutritionist to help Evan with an ever-evolving variation on a low-glycemic-index diet, which avoids potential allergens, promotes muscle growth, and is packed with natural fiber. “With Angelman patients, for some reason their seizures are very hard to control. He takes medicine (Onfi and hemp oil) for them, which has helped a lot. But (it’s) not

totally taking care of them,” says Kristina. “That is the one thing I wish I could alleviate for him. It just kills me every time he has a seizure.” Every night, the Bomgrens meticulously cut and portion out avocadoes, flax seed, beans, coconut bread, vitamins and other foods that Evan can have. Everything is prepared for his weekday sitter: Kristina’s aunt, Paula Skiff. Until recently, all of Evan’s food had to be pureed. “At first we were grinding up meat, but then he was having issues with meat,” says Justin. “We are continually adapting his diet based on the seizures he is having.”

He’s very motivated “ to stand and walk. That’s


his favorite thing to do right now.

Evan has tried other specialized treatments, including aquatic therapy and tablet device training, using the TouchChat communication app. On Thursdays, Evan goes to Upstate University Hospital’s PT center to use the Locomat, an automated treadmill-like device. He sees an eye doctor to monitor a slight turn in his right eye, characteristic of some Angelman patients, and a chiropractor to avoid the development of scoliosis—also common with AS. With the physical therapy, the Bomgrens like to switch it up and have Evan try new things. Keeping him engaged seems to yield better results. “He will let you know if he doesn’t want to do something,” Justin says. “He’ll protest. He will crawl away.” Evan will start preschool next fall, and his early intervention services will end. The ABA services will continue. While Evan still struggles with seizures and digestive issues, he has improved in many ways. Despite his rigid joints and variable balance, he is determined to walk. He takes growth hormone shots to help with his developing muscle tone. He happily cruises around the house with assistance, and pulls himself up the stairs. “He’s very motivated to stand and walk,” Kristina says. “That’s his favorite thing to do right now. The seizure medication has enabled him to do more.” Evan has also been growing out of the sleep problems that are often associated with Angelman syndrome. Unless he is sick or uncomfortable, he frequently sleeps through the night. He is also getting much better at feeding himself.

The demands of Evan’s condition can be overwhelming at times. It helps Kristina to remain upbeat: “Staying hopeful is what gets you through your day. For Evan, I feel there may be a light at the end of the tunnel.” In order for their household to run smoothly, almost every moment of the Bomgrens’ day is filled—and it’s a trying process. “To be honest, it’s overwhelming. It’s every single day,” Kristina admits. “Sometimes, you just want some time for yourself, and it’s not there,” adds Justin. For the Bomgrens—even with the advances Evan has made—taking time for themselves has been challenging. They try to get a date night in about once a month, and they set aside time to focus on Dominick. continued on page 14

The second annual Angelman Syndrome Walk of Syracuse will be held on Saturday, May 19, starting at 10 a.m. at the Town of Camillus Park. Registration is $20 and all funds collected will go toward the Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics. For more information, visit https://cure-angelman-now. -walk- ofsyracuse-new-york . FAMILY TIMES MARCH 2018


continued from page 13 “We do our best, but he’s in school now. We spend so much time on Evan that I worry that he gets left out,” Kristina says. While Dominick doesn’t fully comprehend that Evan has a disabling condition, he is starting to ask more questions, and is fiercely protective of Evan. “He knows his brother is different, but he doesn’t understand this disability yet,” Justin says. “But we don’t focus on that, we focus on their relationship.” “Dominick loves being a big brother,” Kristina says. “And they do have things that they like to do together. Evan loves the swing, and we have a water table which they both love.” Kristina says they are lucky to have family members close by who are willing and able to help with Evan. “Without my aunt’s help as a caretaker, one of us wouldn’t be able to work,” Kristina says. “My parents are a great support system as well. My mom watches him on Thursdays, and they are our go-tos when we need a night free. Justin’s mom helps when she is in town.” But hiring a sitter when family members are unavailable is challenging because many people are afraid that they won’t know how to handle it if Evan has a seizure. “It’s not that I don’t trust people, but knowing that they are nervous about it makes me nervous, and I don’t want them to feel that way,” Kristina says.

A respite caregiver comes to the family’s home on Sundays, but Kristina says that time is often reserved for cleaning and laundry.

“Dominick loves being

a big brother. They have things that they like to do together. We have a water table which they both love.

Since Angelman syndrome is so uncommon, connecting with other families locally has been difficult. The Bomgrens are active with the Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics, which is based in Chicago. With so little free time, online resources and chat groups are a better fit for their current needs, Kristina says. And they are doing what they can to draw attention to Angelman locally, including a May 19 fundraising walk (see box on page 13). Last year’s walk raised more than $5,000. Other walks for AS will be held around the country on the same day. For families living with AS or other genetic disorders, the Bomgrens say it can be easy to be overwhelmed, first with the unknown, and then by the advice of doctors and specialists.

“Ultimately, you have to do what’s best for your child,” Justin says. “And no one knows what that is better than you do. Question the doctors until you are comfortable with the answers you get. Also, take help when it’s offered and ask for it when you need it.” Kristina adds that trying to focus solely on the task at hand can help. “Live in the moment and don’t take things for granted. Also, staying hopeful is what gets you through your day. For Evan, I feel there may be a light at the end of the tunnel.” Like all parents, the Bomgrens think about what their son’s future may hold. They would just like to see Evan reach some level of independence. But in light of the emergent therapies that seem so close to making a cure a reality, who knows what Evan may accomplish in the next 10 years? Kristina finds herself wanting to speed up time to reach a cure for Evan but slow it down to relish all of Dominick’s special moments as he grows up. It’s a difficult balance. “At first, there was a grieving process,” Kristina says, recalling her reaction to Evan’s diagnosis. “Now, we are just focused on getting him better, and the cure. It’s on our minds. We want him to be his best.”

Award-winning writer Tammy DiDomenico lives in DeWitt with her husband and two sons.

CURES ON THE HORIZON The Syracuse Angelman Walk will benefit the Foundation for Angelman Syndrome (FAST), a Chicago-based nonprofit with the mission of curing AS. Founded in 2008 by Paula Evans, parent of a daughter with AS, the organization is the largest non-government funder of Angelman research. What sets the foundation apart is that it funds a coalition of scientists who share a common drive to aggressively pursue results-driven treatment for AS. Instead of scientists applying for grant money from the foundation, the foundation has assembled an in-house research consortium. FAST is currently supporting research and development of five different therapies that hold real promise for a cure. Two of the therapies have been proven successful in curing AS in animals and are on track for human testing in the very near future. The Food and Drug Administration would require three separate trials before approving either treatment. The first human trial of gene therapy, which has proven successful in mice, is planned for 2019. Researchers have found a way to transfer the missing chromosome that causes AS through viral vectors.

“They will implant the missing gene,” says Kristina Bomgren, whose son Evan has AS. “In our case, it wouldn’t be my gene, but they will make the gene and implant it either into the brain or through the bloodstream. They will use a virus to transport the gene, such as an amino virus. They will strip the virus and put the gene into the shell of the virus to transport the gene all over the body.” FAST researchers are also developing a therapy to “switch on” the father’s 15th chromosome, which is transferred to all human offspring but is inactive in the brain. “In our case they would turn on his gene, which is silenced in every one of us,” Kristina Bomgren says. “It would enable his gene to do what mine would normally do.” The Bomgrens are particular hopeful about the potential of this therapy. “I just think it would be easier to work with something that is already there in the body,” says Justin Bomgren. FAST’s structure, Evans says, takes some of the proprietary nature of research out of the picture. Instead of hoarding continued on next page



continued from previous page their findings for publication and acclaim, FAST encourages collaboration and transparency. “The researchers come to our annual gala and parents have the opportunity to ask them anything,” Evans says, adding that the conference is live streamed. “Foremost in our minds at all times is how we want to be treated as parents. We are very passionate about educating the community. “We follow the research that is being done, go out and grab what we think is most promising,” says Evans. “We can target our funding toward the most successful projects. Having that kind of foresight and that level of expertise is critical. It’s a much more aggressive way to fund research.” Evans insists that this is no flash-in-the-pan science. The two gene studies that FAST is focused on currently were developed from a decade’s worth of research. Although she does not have a professional medical or scientific background, Evans immersed herself in learning about how the medical community was addressing AS after her daughter was first diagnosed. She made it her mission to help other parents get the answers they need to help their children, and to do what she can to support progress toward a cure. “There is so much to learn just in the day-to-day care of a child with Angelman syndrome. But I was also very intrigued by the science of it,” Evans says. The Bomgrens are concerned about how the government will support the research in the coming years, but they are more focused on the strength of the research FAST has done.

“The science is there,” says Justin. “It really is something that is within reach and many other conditions could potentially be helped through this technology.” When asked why it has taken so long for researchers to address neurological disorders such as AS, Evans says it all comes down to money. With such a small segment of the population suffering from disorders such as AS, they didn’t think it was worth investing in drugs to treat the symptoms. “When you’re looking at it from the government’s best interest, there are so many more people suffering from autism and Alzheimer’s. There are only about 20,000 to 30,000 people in the United States with Angelman syndrome,” Evans explains. “But we have entered this sort of perfect storm of events. The era of huge pharmaceutical breakthroughs has kind of run its course. And now, technologies have come of age to the point where these other conditions can actually be addressed and there is a huge incentive. We have the technology right now.” Evans says one of her short-term goals is to help the general public understand that Angelman syndrome is a curable disorder. Unlike many neurological disorders where regression of acquired skills is common as patients age, Angelman patients build on progress. “Our kids keep learning, keep fighting to do more. The experts out there believe we could actually reverse the symptoms of Angelman syndrome,” Evans says. “If we can just replace what is missing (genetically), the sky’s the limit. It’s an exciting time.” —Tammy DiDomenico


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Western Suburb Has It All Easy access and peaceful neighborhoods make Camillus desirable to many | BY KIRA MADDOX


f you’re seeking a place to raise a family, don’t overlook Camillus. Despite Route 5 (or Genesee Street), the busy thoroughfare that runs through it, the western suburb encompasses many peaceful neighborhoods and lots of families. Twenty percent of the population is under age 18, according to town and census data. “It’s a pretty area, with the rolling hills and the topography,” says Terri Micho, an associate broker at BHHS CNY Realty. Camillus was founded in March 1799. The elevation varies throughout the town, creating picturesque horizons and natural-looking city planning. The space comprises 35 square miles, with a population of about 24,600. Along with the main town center, Camillus has a smaller village section nestled at the base of a hill to the west and three hamlets: Fairmount to the east, Amboy-Belle Isle to the north and Warners to the northwest. People consider moving to Camillus for many reasons, but most are looking for a quiet, safe place to make a fresh start, Micho says. Some grew up there as children and want to return home, others wish to start their own family, and some are widows or widowers in search of a slower-paced life. Camillus has a small-town feel, without feeling too isolated. Like most upstate New York towns, it is a balance between rural grasslands and developed commercial business districts. The varied selection of housing makes it easy to accommodate everyone, from those looking for an economical starter home to people


wanting more luxurious properties, Micho says. The commercial spaces keep business in town, cutting down on unnecessary travel. Wegmans, Walmart and Tops yield easy grocery shopping, and sit-down restaurants and fast-food chains provide alternatives when cooking isn’t an option. A venue for casual get-togethers, Rise and Grind café, opened last year. Owner, Camillus resident and mother of three Martita Richardson told the Syracuse New Times she often sees families come into her shop, with parents getting coffee and the children grabbing some hot chocolate. The town also has several clothing stores—including a Dress Barn and a Famous Footwear—within its borders and is about a 15-minute drive from Destiny USA. The Thruway and Route 5 both run through the town, giving residents easy routes to work and other destinations. Micho says the Finger Lakes region, only about a 45-minute drive, is another draw. Camillus’ high-traffic streets and shopping areas don’t make it very walkable, but it does have many options for recreation. It is dotted with public parks, the largest being Camillus Park, near Genesee Street. The park has two large playsets, tetherball poles and swings. There’s no need to worry about children running off into the street, as the park has its own entrance road and is lined by residential back yards. Surrounding it is expansive wooded grounds with picnic tables, grills and a bathroom area. continued on page 18



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continued from page 16 There are three trails winding around the trees of Camillus Park with a sign ranking their difficulty. All three are manageable for children, bicycles and strollers, and there are pet waste bags provided for dog walkers’ use. For more outdoor activities, residents can look to the Camillus Forest Unique Area, a 350-acre stretch of woodland that’s free to enter and is commonly used for hiking, fishing and bow hunting. Eight smaller parks can be found around the town, most of which include a playground, picnic area and other similar amenities. The one that doesn’t is Erie Canal Park. Visitors there can go on boat tours—including a dinner cruise—and explore walking paths and an on-site museum with a history of the canal, Nine Mile Creek and the nearby aqueduct. The aqueduct and the Wilcox Octagon House, built in the 1850s, are on the National Register of Historic Places.

is 11.97 for the town and 8.86 for the village. Single-story ranch style homes dominate the real estate market, although two-story residences are not uncommon, especially as one travels farther from the concentrated areas around Genesee Street. Because the town can be alluring to people of all walks of life, it is usually a seller’s market. Many homes end up with multiple offers, Micho says, and prospective buyers keep opportunities on their radar for a while, waiting for their ideal home to open. But she says that’s a testament to the town’s charm. “Honestly, nothing about Camillus stands out as a negative.” Kira Maddox is a staff writer for Family Times and the Syracuse New Times.

Camillus’ biggest draw is the school district, Micho says. The West Genesee Central School District serves about 4,500 students from Camillus and parts of Elbridge, Geddes, Onondaga and Van Buren. It has a high school along West Genesee Street; two middle schools, West Genesee Middle School along Sanderson Drive and the Camillus Middle School along Ike Dixon Road farther west; and four elementary schools, East Hill along Blackmore Road, Onondaga Road Elementary toward Fairmount, Split Rock near Taunton and Stonehedge near the middle school. The district has a graduation rate of 97 percent, with about 94 percent earning a higher-level Regents Diploma last year, according to the district. The special education program and the marching band are two of the standout features. The school developed its own in-house programming to keep special needs students on school premises and balance their time in the classroom, limiting the need for BOCES services. This helps ensure they get the attention they need. “I think this makes a big difference for lots of folks,” says Susan Murray, director of special education. There’s also a Parent-Teacher Association specifically for parents of special-needs children and two unified sports teams (basketball and bowling) that compete in the Special Olympics.

For Camillus residents, the median household income is about $65,000 and the median cost for a home is estimated to be $150,000. The total tax rate (county, town and highway rates)

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The marching band was formed in the early 1960s and has gone on to win the New York State Field Band competition at least 34 times. The band was also chosen by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to help open the New York State Fair for the last two years.


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had the gym teacher come out. Nothing is working. We are not sure if she knows how to come down and recess ended 20 minutes ago.” I stood in my bathroom and thought, “What exactly do you want me to do at this moment?” My daughter, Amanda, has Down syndrome. When she was in school she qualified for special education services, and one of those services was a teaching assistant with her at all times. Amanda was also crafty enough to figure out ways to challenge that adult. One way, apparently, was to climb up where she could not be reached, and then sit like Rapunzel in her tower. Over the years I tried to meet each call with the spirit of collaboration. I truly wanted to help Amanda move forward with her day of learning. I was thankful the school felt comfortable enough to contact me. And while “in the moment of the behavior” calls were frustrating, the “end of the day” calls were even worse. I would be sitting in the pickup line thinking “we” had made it through all “our” classes, working hard and being happy. And then the phone would ring.

The Call


“Mrs. Cavanagh, I just wanted to let you know Amanda would not cooperate in cooking today. She was asked repeatedly to put on her apron and leave her hair alone but she refused. Because of this we are sending home the recipe so she can try doing it tonight. Can you speak to her about this, please?”

Parents of kids with special needs often dread the phone’s ring | BY DEBORAH CAVANAGH

It’s not that I didn’t want to have that conversation with her, but trying to get Amanda to discuss a past event and explain why she behaved a certain way is impossible. The moment has passed and she has moved on. I did try, often wanting to bang my head into the steering wheel—and no answers were ever found as to why she wouldn’t just put her stupid apron on and cook. Amanda had wonderful and creative professionals working with her. Most times they came up with solutions to redirect without having to involve me. When they did call though, they had reached the end of their rope and were hoping I could save the day. How I wish I had a magic wand and could make their wish come true.


I never discussed “the call” with Amanda’s teachers or support people while she was in school. In retrospect, I wish I had. Maybe if we had brainstormed before situations arose, when we had calm heads and clear minds, we would have been more effective in the face of the challenges.

“I had phoned this parent to let her know what a terrific job her son was doing on his homework,” Jennifer told me.

I would have suggested giving Amanda enough time to work through the situation herself. This is hard to do during the school day when time is so structured. But sometimes Amanda just needed a moment. And if you gave it to her instead of pushing her, she moved forward on her own.

hat did he do now?” asked the parent who picked up the phone.

My sister Jennifer Tarolli, a high school English/special education teacher, heard this before she could even explain the reason for her call.

She wondered why the parent immediately thought something bad had happened. Parents of students with challenges have walked in those shoes. It is where our heads immediately go the minute we see that dreaded school phone number on our phones during the academic day. I have been there too many times to count. Here’s one. I had just stepped into the shower, my phone just outside the glass door. I saw the number, and it was the school. Soaking wet and with a knot in my stomach, I answered the call. “Mrs. Cavanagh, we have a situation. While Amanda was out on the playground for recess she decided to climb up to the top of the rope structure and now is refusing to come down. The teaching assistant with her is unable to climb up and we are not sure what to do. We tried having her classroom teacher talk to her. We also 20


We could have had a checklist before the call was made.

I would have given them a list of known triggers to watch for and connect with certain behaviors. Amanda did not like it if another student was upset. She hated loud noises, items falling, anything breaking or spilling. Any of these situations happening could cause her to shut down. Creating a list of strategies based on known triggers would have helped reduce unhappy phone conversations. I would have asked that teachers note if Amanda was being presented with a “non-preferred” activity when she became resistant. Or if the person making the request was someone Amanda had had conflicts with in the past. It might not have been what was being asked but how it was being presented and by whom. Could adjustments be made?

Some behaviors cannot be changed. Why beat a dead horse? There should be acceptable alternatives to tasks that are not necessary. Amanda hated going outside for gym when the weather was not to her liking. If it was windy, chilly or threatening rain, she had no desire. By senior year I had given up. How could I explain to her that in 40-degree Manlius weather, she had to suit up and go walk around the track outside to be timed? It just wasn’t going to happen. And I couldn’t blame her. Maybe reading in the library was a better use of everyone’s time in the grand scheme of things.


Finally I should have let Amanda’s team know how appreciative I was of every positive communication I received throughout the school year. I have saved every “I want to tell you what Amanda did today” email. We all want our child appreciated for what he or she accomplishes. Small successes relayed in the moment stay warm in our hearts and minds forever. I bet that mom my sister called holds onto that memory and has shared it with others. And just in case you were wondering: The minute young Princess Rapunzel Amanda perched in her tower got a glimpse of her still-damp-from-the-shower, hairy-eyeball-projecting mommy heading toward her that day on the playground, she climbed down and skedaddled into school without a backward glance. It isn’t magic, just the right motivation. And every now and then it does come down to Mom. Deborah Cavanagh lives in Manlius with her husband and two children. She has written for local organizations supporting children and adults with special needs.

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h c r a M 2018 Please note: Mistakes happen. To confirm event details, call the sponsoring organization’s phone number or visit the website.

Friday, March 2 Dr. Seuss’ Birthday. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Kids ages 5-12 can celebrate the author’s birthday all day with crafts, games and green eggs. Hazard Branch Library, 1620 W. Genesee St., Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-5326. Popcorn Fridays. 3:30-4:30 p.m.; also March 9, 16, 23 & 30. Young people ages 12-18 can watch anime, play games and eat popcorn. Central Library, TeenSpace, 447 S. Salina St., Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-1900. Teen Open Homework Hour. 3:30-4:30 p.m.; also March 9, 16 & 23. Young people ages 11-18 can come by for homework help and healthy snacks. Hazard Branch Library, 1620 W. Genesee St., Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-5326.

Saturday, March 3 Pancake Breakfast. 9 a.m.-noon; also March 10, 17, 24 & 31. Pancakes, sausage, coffee or juice. Beaver Lake Nature Center, 8477 E. Mud Lake Road, Baldwinsville. $3-$5/breakfast; $4/vehicle for admission. (315) 638-2519. Small Farm & Homestead Fair. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Learn ways to support a small farm or homestead through 20 classes on growing and canning vegetables, raising livestock, and more. Morrisville State College, 80 Eaton St., Morrisville. $5/adult; free/ age 15 & under. (315) 256-0116. smallfarmand

Wizarding Weekend at the Zoo. 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; also March 4. Witches, wizards, house elves and goblins are invited to celebrate all things magical. Kids can dress as their favorite characters and take part in wizarding fun. Rosamond Gifford Zoo, 1 Conservation Place, Syracuse. $10/person, plus zoo admission: $8/adults; $5/age 62 & up; $4/ ages 3-18; free/age 2 and younger. Reservations required: (315) 435-8511, Ext. 113. rosamond Paws and Books. 10:30 a.m.; also March 24. Kids ages 5-12 can read a story to Cooper, a dog certified as a Canine Good Citizen. Afterward, they can stay to make a dog-related craft. Hazard Branch Library, 1620 W. Genesee St., Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-5326. Toddlers’ Tango. 10:30-11:30 a.m. Toddlers and preschoolers can have fun at this music and movement class. Salina Library, 100 Belmont St., Mattydale. Free. Registration required: (315) 4544524. Paws to Read. 10:30-11:30 a.m.; also March 10, 17 & 24. Kids can read to a friendly dog from Paws Inc. of CNY. Liverpool Public Library, 310 Tulip St., Liverpool. Free. (315) 457-0310. Dr. Seuss Birthday Party. 11:30 a.m. Stories, games, crafts and cake in honor of Dr. Seuss’ 114th birthday. Fayetteville Free Library, 300 Orchard St., Fayetteville. Free. Registration required: (315) 637-6374. Pups ‘n Pages. 11 a.m.-noon. All ages of participants can come read to or just hang out with a dog. NOPL Cicero, 8686 Knowledge Lane, Cicero. Free. (315) 699-2032. Rice Creek Ramble. 11 a.m.; also March 10, 17 & 24. People of all ages (kids under 17 must be accompanied by an adult) can go on an informative,

family-friendly walk. Rice Creek Field Station, 193 Thompson Road, 1 mile south of SUNY Oswego’s main campus, Oswego. Call to check trail conditions the morning of the hike: (315) 312-6677. Alice in Wonderland. 12:30 p.m. The Magic Circle Children’s Theatre presents an interactive version of the tale, in which children in the audience help Alice play croquet with the Queen, color the roses red, and join in the Wonderland fun. Children are invited to dress as their favorite fairy tale character. Spaghetti Warehouse, 689 N. Clinton St., Syracuse. $6. Reservations recommended: (315) 449-3823. Traditional Irish Dance. 1 p.m. Students from the Francis Academy of Irish Dance will perform. Hazard Branch Library, 1620 W. Genesee St., Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-5326. Ukulele for Beginners. 1-2 p.m. Pat Doherty teaches a class for newcomers to the ukulele. Liverpool Public Library, 310 Tulip St., Liverpool. Free. (315) 457-0310. Sciencenter Showtime. 1-3 p.m.; all other Saturdays at 2 p.m. In upcoming sessions of this weekly interactive series, topics will include: chemistry, women in science, nano science, and engineering. Sciencenter, 601 First St., Ithaca. Admission: $8/ ages 2-64; $7/seniors, age 65-plus; free/under 2. (607) 272-0600. Open Chess. 2-4 p.m.; also March 10, 17, 24 & 31. Players of all ages and levels can meet up with others for a game; beginners welcome. Boards available or bring your own. Petit Branch Library, 105 Victoria Place, Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-3636.



Hot Cocoa and Snowshoe Night. 6-8 p.m. Go on a guided one-mile hike over level terrain, then head indoors for some hot cocoa. Montezuma Audubon Center, 2295 Route 89, Savannah. $10/adult; $7/ child. Fee without snowshoe rental: $8/adult; $5/ child. (315) 365-3588.

Sunday, March 4 County Chess Championship. Noon. Registration 10:30-11:30 a.m. Four rounds of play with trophies for top three school teams and students. Students in K-12. Southside Academy, 2200 Onondaga Creek Blvd., Syracuse. $12/advance; $20/ door. (315) 350-1157. JCC Purim Carnival. Noon-4 p.m. Games and inflatable bounce houses for preschoolers and school-age children, plus prizes, food and raffles. Children are encouraged to wear costumes, a Purim custom. Jewish Community Center of Syracuse, 5655 Thompson Road, DeWitt. Free admission; charge for games and activities. (315) 445-2360. Chemsations. 2 p.m.; also March 8. Local high school students demonstrate chemical reactions with color changes, bubbles and light. Sciencenter, 601 First St., Ithaca. Admission: $8/adults; $7/ seniors; $6/ages 3-17; free/under 3. (607) 272-0600. sciencenter. org.

Monday, March 5 Learn and Grow Español (Ages 0-2). 9:30-10 a.m.; also March 12, 19, 21 & 28. Instructor Kristie Rodriguez teaches this class using songs, games and hands-on activities. Fee payable directly to instructor by cash or check. Fayetteville Free Library, 300 Orchard St., Fayetteville. $7/child. Registration required: (315) 637-6374. Learn and Grow Espanol (Ages 3-5). 10:3011:15 a.m.; also March 12, 19, 21 & 28. Instructor Kristie Rodriguez teaches this class using songs, games and hands-on activities. Fee payable directly to instructor by cash or check. Fayetteville Free Library, 300 Orchard St., Fayetteville. $7/child. Registration required: (315) 637-6374. Rhyme Time. 10:30 a.m.; also March 19. Children from infants to age 2 (siblings of all ages welcome) can, with a caregiver, learn songs and nursery rhymes, followed by free play. Hazard Branch Library, 1620 W. Genesee St., Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-5326. Gaming for Adults with Special Needs. 1:30-3 p.m. Adults with special needs can play Wii games and board games; caregivers must remain in the room. Liverpool Public Library, 310 Tulip St., Liverpool. Free. (315) 457-0310. Paws to Read. 3:30-4:30 p.m. Those working on their reading skills can work with therapy dog Mollie for 15 minutes, with Mollie’s trainer nearby. Salina Library, 100 Belmont St., Mattydale. Free. Registration required: (315) 454-4524. salina Multiple Moms Mingle. 6 p.m. Monthly meeting of mothers and expectant mothers of multiples. Twin Trees Too, 1029 Milton Ave., Syracuse. For more details and to reserve if you wish to attend: Monday Funday. 5 p.m.; also March 12 & 26. Children ages 5-12 can make a craft. Maxwell Memorial Library, 14 Genesee St., Camillus. Free. (315) 672-3661.



Tuesday, March 6

(315) 672-3661.

Read, Sing and Play. 10:30 a.m.; also March

Trading Card Games. 2:30-4:30 p.m. Young people ages 12-18 can join TCG Player for an afternoon of games and prizes. Central Library, Community Room, 447 S. Salina St., Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-1900.

Sign Language Storytime. 10:30 a.m.; also March 20. Children ages 3-6 can learn several signs that correspond to the stories that day. Fayetteville Free Library, 300 Orchard St., Fayetteville. Free. (315) 637-6374.

Teen Writing and Drawing Group. 3:30-5 p.m. Teens can share art or writing, get feedback, and talk about their projects. Petit Branch Library, 105 Victoria Place, Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-3636.

13, 20 & 27. Children ages 1 ½ to 5 and families or caregivers can enjoy stories, games, fingerplays and songs. Petit Branch Library, 105 Victoria Place, Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-3636.

Terrific Tuesdays. 4-7:30 p.m.; also March 13,

20 & 27. Children of all ages and their families can drop in, read together, play a board game, make a craft or engage in other activities. Maxwell Memorial Library, 14 Genesee St., Camillus. Free. (315) 672-3661. Drawing with Khan Academy. 5 p.m. Young people ages 11-18 can learn to draw with code through the online learning school Khan Academy. Hazard Branch Library, 1620 W. Genesee St., Syracuse. Free. Registration required: (315) 435-5326.

Women’s History Month Celebration.

6:30-7:30 p.m. Kids age 5 and up with a caregiver will read She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton and create a poster celebrating women’s history. NOPL North Syracuse, 100 Trolley Barn Lane, North Syracuse. Free. (315) 458-6184.

Wednesday, March 7 First Steps. 9:30 a.m.; also March 14, 21 & 28. Children who are good walkers, up to age 3, can with a caregiver take part in a program with music, movement, crafts and more. Fayetteville Free Library, 300 Orchard St., Fayetteville. Free. (315) 637-6374. Baby Storytime. 10:30 a.m.; also March 14, 21 & 28. Babies and caregivers can share rhymes, songs, stories and signs in this language-building program. Fayetteville Free Library, 300 Orchard St., Fayetteville. Free. (315) 637-6374. Early Learners Storytime. 11 a.m.; also March 14, 21 & 28. Children ages 2-4, with accompanying adult, can take part in a session with stories, rhymes, songs and crafts. Salina Library, 100 Belmont St., Mattydale. Free. (315) 454-4524. Trading Card Games. 3-4:45 p.m. Kids and parents can have fun with Pokemon and Magik. All skill levels are welcome. Bring cards or borrow a deck. Petit Branch Library, 105 Victoria Place, Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-3636. Teen Geeks. 6-8 p.m.; also March 21. Teens can play board games in the first session of the month and video games in the second. Liverpool Public Library, 310 Tulip St., Liverpool. Free. (315) 4570310. Words and Music Songwriter Woodshed. 6:309 p.m. Songwriters of all ages and skill levels can bring work, and get and give constructive opinions and suggestions. Liverpool Public Library, 310 Tulip St., Liverpool. Free. (315) 457-0310.

Thursday, March 8 Preschool Book Club. 10:30 a.m.; also March 15, 22 & 29. Children ages 3-5 can bring a parent or guardian to read a book together and then talk about things happening in the book. Maxwell Memorial Library, 14 Genesee St., Camillus. Free.

Open Late Til 8. 4-8 p.m. Explore a science theme in a sensory-friendly environment, with activities for adults and for those with sensory issues. The museum offers quiet areas where participants can sit, relax and regroup. Museum of Science and Technology (MOST), 500 S. Franklin St., Armory Square, Syracuse. Museum admission: $5 (ask for the sensory-friendly rate to get discounted admission). (315) 425-9068. Hour of Code for Teens. 6-7:30 p.m. Participants will play CodeCombat, a game that allows beginning coders to start learning while playing and building a game. NOPL Cicero, 8686 Knowledge Lane, Cicero. Free. (315) 699-2032.

Friday, March 9 Time for Tots Playgroup. 9:30-10:45 a.m.; also March 23. Education playgroup for children ages 18 months-5 years and their caregiver. Stories, songs, arts and crafts, and more. Cross of Christ Lutheran Church, 8131 Soule Road, Liverpool. $3/ family. Registration recommended: (315) 622-2843. Home School Nature Series. 10 a.m.-noon. Homeschooled students ages 5-12, accompanied by a chaperone or parent, can ride in the Audubon van, tour the wetlands, and improve their bird-identification skills. Montezuma Audubon Center, 2295 Route 89, Savannah. $8/student. (315) 365-3588.

Saturday, March 10 Creation Station. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Kids ages 5-12 can stop by anytime to make a bracelet from Popsicle sticks, including seasonal decorations. Hazard Branch Library, 1620 W. Genesee St., Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-5326. Family Train Day. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. See trains running on a large indoor layout and on loops on the floor. Check out a kids’ play area as well. Sponsored by the Central New York Large-Scale Railway Society. The Commons, Driver’s Village, 5885 Circle Drive E., Cicero. Free. The Talking Stone. 11 a.m. This performance by puppets depicts a Native American character: a stone that tells stories. Open Hand Theater, Shoppingtown Mall, Suite No. 3, 3649 Erie Blvd. E., DeWitt. $5. (315) 476-0466. Alice in Wonderland. 12:30 p.m. See March 3 listing. Butler-Sheehan Irish Dancers. 1:30 p.m. Schoolage troupe performs traditional Irish dance in costume. Betts Branch Library, 4862 S. Salina St., Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-1940. Science Saturday. 2- 4 p.m. Kids age 7 and up can make plastic with milk and vinegar. Petit Branch Library, 105 Victoria Place, Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-3636.

Sunday, March 11


Daylight Saving Time Starts

Email information about your family-friendly event to: Listings are due by March 9 for the April issue.

Monday, March 12 Breastfeeding Preparation. 6-7:30 p.m. Participants will learn how to overcome challenges, problem solve and establish a successful breastfeeding relationship. Sponsored by the Doula Connection. CNY Healing Arts (parking and entrance in back of second building), 195 Intrepid Lane, Syracuse. Free. Registration recommended: (607) 483-8284.

Tuesday, March 13

Helping children learn & grow through

Yoga Storytime. 10:30 a.m.; also March 27. Children ages 3-6 take part in a full-body experience that incorporates yoga poses, breathing exercises, songs and more. Mats are provided; socks must be worn. Fayetteville Free Library, 300 Orchard St., Fayetteville. Free. Registration required: (315) 6376374. Teen Mystery Afternoon. 3:30-5 p.m. Young people ages 12-18 can will investigate the mystery of rare book collector Neil Vince, examine clues and try to find out what happened. Central Library, Community Room, 447 S. Salina St., Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-1900. Teen MOPS. 4-6 p.m.; also March 27. Young mothers, ages 13-21, with children under 6 enjoy a faith-based program with fun, food and activities while their children are cared for by the childcare program. Liverpool First United Methodist Church, 604 Oswego St., Liverpool. Free. (315) 569-2542.

Wednesday, March 14

Pure Play

Educational Books, Games, Toys & CDs For children of all ages & abilities. Products for children with autism and special needs. Contact

Amy Riou

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Teen Anime Night. 6-8 p.m. Teens can come and talk about anime. Cosplay is okay, but library staff must approve. Liverpool Public Library, 310 Tulip St., Liverpool. Free. (315) 457-0310.

Weekday Mornings 5:30 -10AM

Thursday, March 15 Terrific Thursdays. 11 a.m. Homeschooled students age 8 and up and accompanying adults can find out all about shark anatomy during a dissection demonstration by a surgeon. Community Library of DeWitt and Jamesville, 5110 Jamesville Road, Jamesville. Free. Registration required: (315) 446-3578. Adulting 101. 6-7:30 p.m. High school students and recent graduates can explore career options and other paths using activities and resources. Salina Library, 100 Belmont St., Mattydale. Free. Registration required: (315) 4544524.

Friday, March 16 Toddler Dance Party. 10:30 a.m. Children ages 18 months-5 years can come play musical instruments, enjoy bubbles, and dance their sillies out. Community Library of DeWitt and Jamesville, 5110 Jamesville Road, Jamesville. Free. (315) 446-3578.

Saturday, March 17

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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Breakfast with the Bunny. 9-10 a.m. & 11 a.m.-noon; also March 18, 24, 25 & 31. Hop on over to the zoo and enjoy a buffet meal with the bunny, plus activities. Rosamond Gifford Zoo, 1 Conservation Place, Syracuse. $19.95/person (including zoo admission). Reservations required: (315) 435-8511, Ext. 113. Junior Café Scientifique. 9:30-11 a.m. The Technology Alliance of Central New York presents a talk on the subject of archeology. The talk is geared toward middle school students, who must be accompanied by an adult. Museum of Science and Technology (MOST), 500 S. Franklin St., Armory Square, Syracuse. Free. Register by email: Parent and Me Craft Class. 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Kids ages 5-10 and a caregiver can work on a creative project together. Community Library of DeWitt and Jamesville, 5110 Jamesville Road, Jamesville. Free. Registration required: CLDandJ. org. (315) 446-3578. St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Noon-3 p.m. Celebrate Irish culture with the moving spectacle of dancers, pipers and floats. Parade begins at Clinton Square, proceeds on South Salina Street and concludes at the intersection with Onondaga Street, Syracuse. Free. syracuse Alice in Wonderland. 12:30 p.m. See March 3 listing. Family Dance. 6:30 p.m. Children and adults of all ages and abilities are welcome to join in fun and simple dances. United Church of Fayetteville, 310 E. Genesee St., Fayetteville. $2/adults; $1/teens & kids.

Sunday, March 18 See Ongoing Events

Monday, March 19 Teen Minecraft. 3-4:30 p.m. Kids in grades 6-12 can come hang out and play on the library’s server. Salina Library, 100 Belmont St., Mattydale. Free. Registration required: (315) 454-4524. salina Homeschooling 101 for Parents. 7-8 p.m. Parents of homeschoolers can learn about different topics. Liverpool Public Library, 310 Tulip St., Liverpool. (315) 457-0310. Free. Registration required:

Tuesday, March 20

Spring Begins! Wednesday, March 21 Life Size Pac-Man. 3-5 p.m. Teens can play a game that gets bigger with every round. Food, and prizes



for the winners. NOPL Cicero, 8686 Knowledge Lane, Cicero. Free. (315) 699-2032.

Polka Tot Children’s Consignment Sale. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. See March 23 listing.

Teen Theater Group. 6-7:30 p.m. Teens can join in improvisation games and read through scenes from plays. No audience is present. NOPL Cicero, 8686 Knowledge Lane, Cicero. Free. (315) 6992032.

Animal Eggstravaganza. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Watch the animals receive egg-shaped enrichment items throughout the day. Rosamond Gifford Zoo, 1 Conservation Place, Syracuse. Zoo admission: $8/ adults; $5/age 62 & up; $4/ages 3-18; free/age 2 and younger. (315) 435-8511.

Thursday, March 22

Sesame Street Live. 1 & 4 p.m. Enjoy a live musical show, called “Let’s Party,” with all the Sesame Street gang, including Elmo, Abby Cadabby and Big Bird. Crouse Hinds Theater, Oncenter, 800 S. State St., Syracuse. $20-$90 (plus fees). (800) 7453000.

Teen Book Club. 3:30-4:30 p.m. For the club’s first meeting, participants will have ice breakers and vote to name the club. Petit Branch Library, 105 Victoria Place, Syracuse. Free.(315) 435-3636. Grub Club. 6-7:30 p.m. Young people in grades 6-12 learn to make a quick and simple meal for yourself in the microwave. Salina Library, 100 Belmont St., Mattydale. Free. Registration required: (315) 454-4524.

Friday, March 23 Polka Tot Children’s Consignment Sale. 11 a.m.6 p.m.; through March 25. Clothes, toys, baby gear, sports equipment and more. Shoppingtown Mall, former JC Penney lower level, 3649 Erie Blvd. E., DeWitt. Full STEAM Ahead. 3 p.m. Kids age 5 and up can use Flubber and investigate a solid—such as a glacier—can flow. Mundy Branch Library, 1204 S. Geddes St., Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-3797. Kids Minecraft. 3:30-4:30 p.m. Kids in grades 3-5 can come hang out and play on the library’s server. Salina Library, 100 Belmont St., Mattydale. Free. Registration required: (315) 454-4524.

Saturday, March 24 Easter for Kids. 9 a.m.-noon. Kids ages 4-12 can take part in crafts, a Bible lesson, games, songs and more. Cross of Christ Lutheran Church, 8131 Soule Road, Liverpool. Free. Registration recommended: (315) 622-2843. nycrossofchrist. org/easter. Biggest Bake Sale Ever. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sale of cookies, cakes, cupcakes, pies and more benefits HumaneCNY, a shelter for homeless animals. Fayetteville Towne Center, Community Center, Fayetteville. Polka Tot Children’s Consignment Sale. 9 a.m.4 p.m.; through March 25. See March 23 listing. Alice in Wonderland. 12:30 p.m. See March 3 listing. Traditional Irish Dance Performance. 2 p.m. Students from the Butler-Sheehand Academy will perform. Hazard Branch Library, 1620 W. Genesee St., Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-5326. Dress as Your Favorite YouTuber. 3-5 p.m. Participants can dress as their favorite YouTubers and watch classic episodes from their channels at this party. NOPL Cicero, 8686 Knowledge Lane, Cicero. Free. (315) 699-2032.

Sunday, March 25 CNY Science and Engineering Fair. 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Students in fourth-12th grades conduct experiments and display their results. Projects available for viewing by the public after judging. SRC Arena, Onondaga Community College, 4585 W. Seneca Turnpike, Syracuse. Free. (315) 425-9068.

Monday, March 26 See Ongoing Events

Tuesday, March 27 Easter Crafts Drop-In. 6:30-7:30 p.m. Children age 4 and up with a caregiver can make several crafts, including bunny ears and an Easter wreath. NOPL North Syracuse, 100 Trolley Barn Lane, North Syracuse. Free. (315) 458-6184.

Wednesday, March 28 See Ongoing Events

Thursday, March 29 Salt City Ukulele Open House. 6-8 p.m. Look over some ukuleles and try them out, ask questions and take a lesson to see how easy uke playing can be. Jamesville Train Station, 6499 E. Seneca Turnpike, Jamesville. Free. (315) 308-0315. You Are Going to Be a Parent. 7-8 p.m. Prospective parents can learn about a variety of topics from a panel of experts. Subjects include: cloth diapering, daycare and breastfeeding. Liverpool Public Library, 310 Tulip St., Liverpool. Free. Registration required: (315) 457-0310.

Friday, March 30

Happy Passover! Egg Drop. 2:30 p.m. Children can attempt to build a container that, when dropped from various heights, will protect an egg from breaking; for ages 5-12. Hazard Branch Library, 1620 W. Genesee St., Syracuse. Free. (315) 435-5326.

Saturday, March 31 Teen Easter Egg Hunt. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Take an hour to find as many eggs as you can, then get a chance to decorate them. NOPL North Syracuse, 100 Trolley Barn Lane, North Syracuse. Free. (315) 458-6184. Rice Creek Story Hour. 11 a.m. Elementary-age

children (kids must be accompanied by a caregiver) can hear tales of nature and animals’ wild ways. Rice Creek Field Station, 193 Thompson Road, 1 mile south of SUNY Oswego’s main campus, Oswego. (315) 312-6677. oswego. edu/ricecreek. Be the Scientist. Noon-4 p.m. Explore the activities of a geneticist. Museum of Science and Technology (MOST). 500 S. Franklin St., Armory Square, Syracuse. Museum admission: $12/adults; $10/seniors and ages 2-11. (315) 425-9068. Alice in Wonderland. 12:30 p.m. See March 3 listing.

Sunday, April 1 See Ongoing Events

Happy Easter! ONGOING EVENTS It’s Maple Syrup Time. Saturdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; Sundays, 1-4 p.m.; March 3-31. A visit to the demonstration sugarbush will introduce families to the heritage of sugaring and the production of maple syrup at six different stations. Beaver Lake Nature Center, 8477 E. Mud Lake Road, Baldwinsville. $4/ vehicle. (315) 638-2519. Peanut Butter Jelly Time. Thursdays, 5 p.m. Members of the community can join in making more than a hundred bagged lunches to hand out to the hungry and homeless in downtown Syracuse. The Road, 4845 W. Seneca Turnpike, Syracuse. Free. (315) 218-6066. Weekend Walks With a Naturalist. Saturdays and Sundays, 2 p.m. Nature discovery hike with different topics each weekend. Beaver Lake Nature Center, Route 370, Baldwinsville. Admission: $4/vehicle. (315) 638-2519.

Formerly Summer Fun & Camp Fair!


10am – 2pm


Great Swamp Conservancy Nature Trails. Daily, dawn to dusk. Throughout the year, visitors can grab their walking shoes and explore 4.5 miles of well-groomed, flat trails. Trails feature a 900-foot boardwalk, osprey nesting platform, and wetland and grassland restoration areas. The area is a stop for many migratory waterfowl and songbirds; other wildlife include muskrats and beavers. Great Swamp Conservancy, 3.5 miles off I-90, Exit 34, 8375 N. Main St., Canastota. Free. (315) 697-2950. Baltimore Woods Nature Center. Hiking trails and parking are free and open every day from dawn to dusk. Interpretive Center open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; closed Sundays. Snowshoe rental: $5/ day. 4007 Bishop Hill Road, Marcellus. (315) 673-1350. Wegmans Playground. Boundless Playground for children (and parents) of all ages and abilities includes accessible swings, slides, bridge and more, including special section just for the tiniest tykes. Onondaga Lake Park, Route 370, Liverpool. Free. (315) 451-PARK. Barnes & Noble Storytimes. Thursdays, 10 a.m. Join a storytime for toddlers and preschoolers that’s features a book, songs and coloring. Barnes & Noble, 3454 Erie Blvd. E., DeWitt. Free. (315) 449-2948. Fairmount Community Library Storytimes. Little Movers (good walkers ages 1-3): Mondays & Wednesdays, 10:15 a.m. Small Steps (unstructured play for ages 0-2 years): Tuesdays, 10:15 a.m. Creative Kids (stories and crafts for preschoolers): Mondays, 11:15 a.m., Thursdays, 10:15 a.m. Fairmount Community Library, 406 Chapel Dr., Syracuse. Free. (315) 487-8933. Maxwell Library Storytimes. Storytimes and book groups for all ages. Call for dates and times. Maxwell Memorial Library, 14 Genesee St., Camillus. Free. (315) 672-3661.

NOPL Brewerton Storytimes. Age 2 and up: Mondays, 10:30-11:30 a.m.

NOPL Brewerton, 5440 Bennett St., Brewerton. (315) 676-7484.

NOPL Cicero Library Storytimes. Toddler Story Hour: Tuesdays &

Wednesdays, 10-11 a.m. Preschool Story Hour: Tuesdays & Wednesdays, 11 a.m.-noon. NOPL Cicero, 8686 Knowledge Lane, Cicero. Free. (315) 6992032.



Inflatables from Syracuse Inflatables Face Painting Summer Camp/Activity Booths Kid affiliated vendors Food Vendors

NOPL North Syracuse Library Storytimes. Birth-age 3: Wednes-

days, 10-11 a.m. Ages 3-5: Thursdays, 11 a.m.-noon. Daycare Storytime: Fridays, 10-10:30 a.m. NOPL North Syracuse, 100 Trolley Barn Lane, North Syracuse. Free. Registration requested: (315) 458-6184.




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Family Times March 2018  

Family Times March 2018

Family Times March 2018  

Family Times March 2018