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Cover Type: Softcover (Perfect Bound) Book Size: Magazine 8.5x11 Count: 112 MILITARY PHOTOJOURNALISM ATPage NEWHOUSE UNIVERSITY | 2022 | SYRACUSE Paper Type: Premium Magazine (80# Text)


ince its founding in 1963, students in the Military Photojournalism program at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications

at Syracuse University have been telling the unique stories of Central New York. These active-duty service members are carefully selected for the rigorous yearlong program because of exemplary service records, a desire for advanced training, and a willingness to teach fellow military members the skills involved in visual storytelling. This year’s class of 10 Marines and Sailors came together to create the 2022 issue of SALT magazine, a culmination of the MPJ program’s storytelling, photography and graphic design curriculum. Each student was tasked with finding, documenting and presenting a story of a person and a place. In the process, they developed a deeper understanding of the local culture while working to master their craft. What you hold in your hands is the result of their collective vision, attention to detail, and a commitment to raising the bar.


















RAISING THE BAR Alexander Sturdivant


A PARK REBORN Anabel Abreu







WORLDS AWAY Kelsey Hockenberger

RIGHT AS RAIN Alex Kubitza









Doctors, tattoo artists, teachers and engineers find common ground at a local jiujitsu gym that encourages community and personal growth through the “gentle art.”


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COMMITMENT. Jeremiah Clifford stands in line after receiving the first stripe on his blue belt. Clifford has been training for over a year and says he loves it because it keeps him in shape and teaches him a practical life skill.


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SWEAT. Chelsey Dos Santos and Caleb Kingsbury grapple during a 5-minute sparring round, commonly referred to as rolling.


irst introduced to Brazil in the early 1920’s by a Japanese immigrant, jiujitsu took hold and evolved, eventually morphing into Brazilian jiujitsu, a now globally popular combat martial art that focuses on grappling. Brazilian jiujitsu, or BJJ for short, focuses on taking an opponent to the ground, controlling them, gaining a dominant position and forcing them into submission. The inherent toughness of the sport stresses qualities key to success on and off the mats. Other major benefits of practicing Brazilian jiujitsu include learning how to defend oneself, boosting confidence and belonging to a community. In February 2016, Diego Ramos opened SAS Team Syracuse two days after his wedding day. He, along with a handful of other black belts, teach authentic Brazilian jiujitsu to patrons of every skill set, age and gender, placing

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a major emphasis on personal fitness and self-discipline. “I am always thinking about the long term with my students,” said Ramos, “how BJJ can benefit that person from Day One and change their lifestyle for the better, regardless of their goals.” Many practitioners at SAS Team Syracuse use jiujitsu as a way to alleviate personal stress while gaining a skill set they could potentially use in the real world. Anthony Morales, a blue belt there, has been training for over a year for the practical benefits. “I realized one day I didn’t know how to defend myself,” said Morales. “As a man, it’s important for me to know how to defend myself and loved ones.” BJJ has given him the opportunity to redefine himself. “Once I started training, I realized my attitude changed, the way I carried myself changed, and it’s given me a sense of pride in myself.”

GRIT. Ground fighting can take a toll on the human body and cause visible scarring, such as cauliflower ear.

TENACITY. Accidents and broken bones from training can leave fingers mangled and morphed.

LEADERSHIP. Lead black belt instructor, Jose Inacio Dos Santos observes his students to ensure they are doing the daily warm-up correctly. These exercises are crucial for the athletes to perform and help prevent injuries during class.

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RELENTLESS. Dos Santos, center, executes an arm bar on his sparring partner at a Saturday open mat class while some students watch. Traditionally, open mat classes are meant to provide an opportunity for students to train with others they normally would not train with.


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COMMUNITY. Students prepare to line up at the end of class to thank one another for the opportunity to train. Not only is it tradition, it’s an act of respect.

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DISCIPLINED. Dos Santos not only spends time training on the mats, he also spends a lot of his free time in the gym working on his strength, speed, stamina and endurance.

A BEAST ON THE MATS A 25-year-old phenom continues to raise the bar and crush his goals

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Lençóis Paulista, São Paulo, Jose Inacio Dos Santos began training in Brazilian jiujitsu because his father wanted his son to have something to do after school. Dos Santos fell in love with the grappling-based martial art and has been a dedicated practitioner ever since. Dos Santos eventually settled in Syracuse, New York, with his wife, Chelsea, and his dog, Coco. Now 25, he has worked for years to prove himself a fearsome, tough and formidable competitor. Dos Santos has competed at every level, from local to global, and in 2017 placed third in the super heavy division for brown belt at the International Brazilian jiujitsu Federation Pan Championship in Irvine, California. The Pan Am is the largest grappling tournament in North America and draws hundreds of competitors. Most recently, Dos Santos traveled to Las Vegas in November. 2021 to compete in the Brazilian jiujitsu Convention

tournament, his first competition as a black belt after being promoted in 2018. He made it to the podium, placing third. Aside from competing, he has been teaching, coaching and mentoring at SAS Team training institute, named for one of the families that pioneered the sport in Brazil. “I feel like I have responsibility to the BJJ community. I need to be there to help them and teach the future.” SAS Team Syracuse owner Diego Ramos heavily relies on Dos Santos to mentor students of all ranks and backgrounds, and his love for teaching is a major reason why he continues to train nearly every day: “I teach, that’s my thing,” Dos Santos said. “When I first started, I never realized how much I would love it. I’m here in the morning, the afternoon and at night almost every single day. But I get to teach my students, and they’re a huge part of the reason why I still love training.”

FOCUSED. Dos Santos trains five to seven days a week. Ultimatley, he wants to become a full-time competitor and return to the world stage.

GLORY. After eight years of training, Kevin Leonard is promoted to brown belt. This rank is rarely attained because it requires significant amounts of time, hard work and discipline to earn.


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A Canal Runs Through It Tucked away on the outskirts of Syracuse is the Liz and Dave Beebe Camillus Erie Canal Park, where waterways that used to transport salt from the Hudson River to Lake Erie by mule and ferry now provide locals with a place to find peace.

By Caitlin Brink

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stablished in 1972 when the state sold nearby abandoned canal lands to the Town of Camillus, the now 420-acre park was founded by Elizabeth and Dr. David Beebe, who said the action saved what remained of the old canal in Camillus from being filled in with trash and Solvay Process Company sludge. Over time, the couple has continued to add acreage through donations, purchases and leases, preserving a stretch of the 19th century Erie Canal and its aqueduct over Nine Mile Creek. The aqueduct, a water-filled bridge that carries canal boats over rivers, streams and valleys, is New York’s only restored navigable aqueduct. In 2018, the Preservation League of New York honored the Camillus Park for its restoration of the 1844 aqueduct. The history of the canal can be found in the Sims’ Museum, a replica of the original Sims’ Canal Store that was located approximately two miles east of its present location. Open year-round from dawn to dusk, the park has 14 miles of trails along waters used by fishermen, kayakers and the park’s own tour boats. Volunteers lead tours from summer until just before the waters ice over, teaching the history of the canal and its effect on New York’s economy. In the winter months, the trails are populated by cross-country skiers, snowshoers and adventurous runners.

INDUSTRIALIZATION. Built between 1817 and 1825, the original Erie Canal traversed 363 miles from Albany to Buffalo. It was the longest artificial waterway and the greatest public works project in North America, solidifying New York as the leader in population, industry and economic strength. It also transformed New York City into the nation’s principal seaport and opened the interior of North America to settlement. The Camillus park is at the midway-point of the original Erie Canal.

GROWTH. Native species of plant life, like this Virginia creeper, line trees along the canal. The vine’s color change from green to crimson signals cooling temperatures. SANCTUARY. The park is a wildlife management area, a protected environment set aside for conservation. Bees aid in the spread and preservation of native flora. Liz Beebe said the park originally drew the couple’s eye for its bird-watching opportunities.

SERENDIPITY. Wild apple trees grow around the trails, attracting rabbits and squirrels alongside daily walkers. The trails, Sims’ Museum and other historical artifacts are maintained by more than 160 volunteers.

COLOR. The waters of the canal contain carp, snapping turtles, fallen foliage and the spare feather from migrating Canada geese. Benches bought in memory of loved ones and friends line the trail overlooking the waters.


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EDUCATION. A female wood duck, wildlife scarcely seen in the suburbs, drifts along the canal that once served as a hub for carrying goods and people. But the Erie Canal carried more than just things — it carried ideas. Several of the 19th century’s most influential social reform movements, such as women’s rights, the abolition of slavery and religious revivalism, started or flourished along New York’s canal system. Now, history lives on in the park’s Sims’ Museum, which is open for tours from May to November.

We wanted people to know about the history and at the same time enjoy the ambiance of unique trails, waterway, flora and fauna. — LIZ BEEBE PEACE. Trails used now for leisurely strolls were once paths along which mules pulled ferries laden with goods and travelers up and down the canal. OPPORTUNITY. The canal is 40 feet wide and an average of four feet deep, seven feet when the banks are close to overflowing. The algae and weeds growing within are maintained and trimmed down using the “Aquaduck,” a home-built underwater mower, keeping the waters navigable for kayaks.

CLASSIC COMBO Plates of chicken and waffles are piled high with locally sourced ingredients at Funk ’n Waffles.

Deep Fried Funk

Breathing life, music and good humor into the community it has served since 2007, Funk ’n Waffles puts its own spin on a breakfast classic while serving up locally sourced food and talent. BY RAY D. DIAZ III

SWEET SERENADE Adam Reed of the Michigan Rattlers plays his upright bass during a show at Funk ’n Waffles.


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PIT STOP Bostonians Kevin Ordway and Shahin Prentice stop at Funk ’n Waffles every time they pass through Syracuse. ORDER UP Aiden Hawkins and Hayden Loan keep food orders moving by working in tandem during the dinner rush.

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DIG IN Funk ’n Waffles menu offers more than 20 chicken and waffle combinations. CLEAN UP Catherine Walsh sweeps and disinfects the dining area frequently as part of COVID-19 prevention measures at the restaurant.


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Michigan Rattlers performs on the Funk ’n Waffles stage, which features weekly acts, including musical artists and stand-up comics.

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A body builder, Air National Guardsman and dog enthusiast focuses on becoming her own ideal rather than succumbing to the perception of others.


STRUCTURED. Perfecting poses for future bikini competitions takes practice. Pietricola uses the spare room that displays ribbons and trophies from her chidhood 4-H competitions and past bikini competitions.


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arah Pietricola’s drive for competition began long before her first time on the bikini modeling stage. In high school she showed livestock and once she found her love of dogs, added them to the conformation spot light. Conformation is the official term for dog shows, where dogs are judged against how they conform to the breed’s standard in structure, coat characteristics and overall appearance. These shows were the baseline for future physique competitions. “I don’t know where the motivation came from,” said Pietricola. “ I know I used to get made fun of at school for being a weirdo farm kid, so maybe I was rebelling against the bullies by perfecting my hobby. My whole life I’ve been addicted to winning, or at least trying to. I think that’s why I love bikini so much.” Bikini is the most popular of the body building competitions, and has been around since 2010. The competitors are judged on personality, poise and physique, their makeup and complexion mattering just as much as muscle tone. Pietricola worked out religiously for years before joining the Air Force and finding someone who ignited her love for the sport. “I love competing because the only person you need to worry about is yourself,” said Pietricola. “It’s you versus your best and most disciplined self. Then once that day is closed, it’s me versus all the other girls on stage who pushed themselves too. In the beginning it was just about becoming more confident in myself as a woman, but now it’s about beating my last physique every year.” Surrounding herself with others who want to better themselves, Pietricola felt the need to get back to her youth.

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In 2020, she started searching for her next partner in competition. The following year she brought home Kasch, a Doberman Pinscher. Now that they’ve made it through the puppy basics, Pietricola spends hours each day preparing them as a team to title in sports such as rally, agility, conformation and obedience. “He has filled a hole in my heart I’ve needed for a while, and competing gives me so much joy,” said Pietricola. “I have shown Kasch [in conformation] already

and he really enjoyed it. However, with just starting to train in agility I can see he is addicted. And it makes me so motivated!” At 23 years old, Pietricola is working toward finding satisfaction in her accomplishments. “I hope when people look at me they see more than my exterior. I hope they see the qualities that make me unique, my backstory, my current career, all my hobbies, my passion for pushing myself and my strength.”

CHANGED. “I used to be obsessed with followers, likes and interaction. As years passed, I realized that stuff doesn’t matter so I’ve started to post what I want, not what I think people want to see. It’s really easy to be fake on social media so I’ve dropped the facade of making my life look glamorous.” CALLED. Pietricola said she felt she needed more of a challenge out of life, which led her to join the U.S. Air Force in 2017. She currently serves as a recruiter at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base.


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BONDED. Pietricola and her Doberman Pinscher, Kasch, take a moment between training sessions at Green Lakes State Park. These breaks are important as they give Kasch time to recover.


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BY THE GRACE Living on the goodness of generosity BY CODY B E AM According to a report by the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, as of January 2020 an estimated 91,271 New Yorkers were homeless, relying primarily on government aid and nonprofit organizations. While aid often provides essentials like shelter, food and clothing, items deemed nonessential must be aquired by other means, which often includes panhandling at traffic stops, gas stations or other high-traffic locations for up to 16 hours a day.

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MONEY Jeremy Caldron spends 8 to 12 hours a day panhandling under Highway 81 near SUNY Upstate Medical University.


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SUPPORT Jonathan, a veteran who only gave his first name, asks for help during rush-hour traffic in downtown Syracuse. He makes roughly $30 a day.

FOOD Art Flannigan walks to The Rescue Mission after buying lunch with money earned while panhandling downtown.

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SHELTER The term chronic homelessness is defined as experiencing homelessness for at least 365 consecutive days. Flannigan has been homeless for more than 20 years.

CLOTHING Flannigan finds all of his clothes at The Spot, a thrift store that provides free clothing to people in need. On this trip, he picked out his first new shoes of the year.


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Stacked in Taughannock Falls State Park by visitors, rock cairns have been built by cultures around the world for millennia to serve as monuments, guideposts and even burial site markers. Cairns placed in the wrong area, however, can endanger certain ecosystems and lead to erosion.

Nature’s Attractive Force Exploring the wonder of Central New York


orged by huge glaciers that carved their way through the state millions of years ago, many of Central New York’s winding country roads lead to waterfalls, rivers and mountains. Few states have as wide a range of scenery and breadth of outdoor adventure options as New York. Nestled between mountain ranges and home to lakes and forest views, Central New York is known for its hiking opportunities. With more than 3,945 hiking trails and 180 state parks to choose from, natural attractions entice residents and visitors to take a deep breath of fresh air and explore the outdoors. Taughannock Falls State Park in Trumansburg is one popular hiking area. At 215 feet, it is the highest single-drop waterfall east of the Rocky Mountains and offers 750 acres of scenery. Another wonder is Tinker Falls in Tully, which is located just 22 miles from Syracuse and offers a 7.5-mile trail and a waterfall.

By Alex Kubitza


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Lined with beech, dogwood, aspen and red maple trees, Tinker Falls trail in Tully is part of the 1,483-acre Labrador Hollow Unique Area, land acquired by the state because of its natural beauty and character, or for its geological, ecological or historical significance.

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Taughannock Creek flows strongest in the spring after snow and ice have melted on the mountains that surround it. By the summer, parts of the creek dry up and puddles appear only after rainstorms.


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Despite light pollution from nearby Tully, the Milky Way remains visible at one of four campsites in Labrador Hollow State Park. Light pollution creates an orange glow when a town is within 20 miles.


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MADDIE’S A Marine veteran, husband and stay-at-home father finds joy in the fullness of his days



onnie Brink’s curly-haired toddler with endless energy is the center of his attention. She delights in being chased around the house, watching cartoons and dancing with her father. This has been Ronnie’s day-to-day life for almost a year. Ronnie has wanted children since he began dating Kate Maluda when they were both at the Defense Information School at Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, in 2011. There they trained together in public affairs for the U.S. Marine Corps. A year later, Ronnie left the Marines and they married in February 2013. In 2018 they decided to become parents. Madilyn Brink was born in March 2020, and on that very day, Ronnie realized how much love he was capable of. In September 2020, after injuring his knee and an impending transfer to Syracuse for Kate, Ronnie took the opportunity to become a stay-athome dad. After Kate was accepted to the Newhouse School’s Military Visual Journalism program at Syracuse University in 2021, they found themselves facing yet another challenge: childcare. Not only was it expensive, but Maddie was growing up in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, so Ronnie and Kate agreed that a stranger would not raise their

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child. Now, Ronnie makes the meals, cleans the house, and watches his daughter while Kate is at school and works on her assignments. Caring for Maddie can be a day full of play or full of sass. And although, the Brink living room is filled with plush toys, building blocks, books and a slide, sometimes that is not enough to entertain the growing toddler. Maddie’s curiosity typically means that when Ronnie puts the toys away, as soon as he turns his back, Maddie has flipped the bin over. “What makes him a great dad is that he is very patient with her,” said Kate. “Seeing them interact, there is zero doubt of the love between them.” Even so, Ronnie occasionally needs some time for himself. When he needs a longer break, he asks Kate to watch Maddie so he can enjoy his hobby, fishing. After a few hours, Ronnie’s ready again to spend another day with Maddie. In just more than a year, Ronnie has watched his daughter run faster and climb higher. He’s seen her curiosity about the world around her grow. He’s watched her change. “She used to be able to run underneath our dining room table,” said Ronnie. “One day, she tried to run underneath it and bumped her head. Maddie is growing up fast. My sweetness needs to stay the same age for just a little bit longer.”


NAP TIME Playtime turns into naptime for father and

daughter. Maddie can get cranky without rest.

MOM’S HOME! As a student, Kate needs study time at home to complete assignments, and Ronnie makes sure she isn’t disturbed.

MEAL PREP Ronnie — whose cooking skills range from roasting and baking, to grilling and frying — has been cooking for himself since he was a child and now makes sure everyone is well fed.

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TIME TO RELAX While Maddie naps, Ronnie takes a break by playing with Tulip, the family’s beloved Labrador retriever. When Kate is home, he also spends quiet moments on his hobbies.

“Maddie is growing up fast. My sweetness needs to stay the same age for just a little bit longer. ”

PLAYTIME Chasing Maddie around the house and dancing to Disney musicals, especially “Frozen” and “Frozen II,” are a regular part of playtime.


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Navy veteran Freddy Bevacqua reclaims his life through competitive powerlifting after a close call with death. Sweat Bevacqua uses red stretch bands for his first warm-up exercise at Hercules Gym in Syracuse.

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t first glance, Freddy Bevacqua looks like the quintessential gym guy. He’s tall, tan, with coiffed hair and a strong physique that commands attention, but you wouldn’t know today that in 2019, Bevacqua nearly died after having a tumor removed from his head. The procedure nearly cost him his life. His doctors told him that he pulled through because of his dedicated workout routine. Since then, the competitive powerlifter has worked hard to get back to his pre-surgery performance and prepare himself to compete on the national level.

FIGHT A 2019 Instagram post of Bevacqua during his intubation serves as a reminder of how far he’s come.

FUEL Meal prepping is a biweekly routine developed by Bevacqua’s lifting mentor.

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THINK Bevacqua splits his workouts between Hercules Gym and the home gym he built himself.

STRETCH Bevacqua stretches during his warm-up routine at Hercules Gym, where he can use equipment not available at home.


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EQUIP Bevacqua’s essentials for every workout include a bottle of water, a cell phone, earbuds and a stretch band.

CHALK Like most powerlifters, Bevacqua frequently chalks his hands to block sweat and achieve a tighter grip.

REPLENISH Mindful of his water consumption, Bevacqua makes sure to hydrate between workout sets.

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LIFT To minimize risk and injury, Bevacqua practices proper form while training. His personal deadlift record is 615 lbs.


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LADY DIMITRESCU: A Resident Evil: Village-inspired cocktail, a Three Lives rendition of a clarified New York sour with a red wine float

RAISING THE BAR A Syracuse entrepreneur with a love for video games embarks on a quest to take cocktails and his business to the next level. BY ALEXANDER STURDIVANT


on Page wanted a home away from home, a place where people would walk in and feel as if it were created just for them, a place where customers would say, “This is it. This is my spot.” In 2020, Page opened Three Lives, a full-service bar and restaurant with personality and plenty of video games. Now, it is a place where friends can grab a bite to eat and have a few drinks, a place where just about anyone can be comfortable sharing their love for all things geek. With an ever-growing collection of regulars and adding new patrons daily, this barcade is making a name for itself in Central New York and is becoming the go-to place for local geeks, gamers and curious passersby drawn by their logo, a triad of 8-bit hearts. Playing to its clientele, the bar holds a variety of weekly events, including movie nights, Rock Band karaoke and pajama brunches. At its core, Three Lives specializes in retro video games and a modern spin on classic cocktails. The bar’s “alchemists,” aka bartenders, pride themselves on creating cleverly named cocktails inspired by video games and geek culture. The drink menu features concoctions such as “potions,” “tinctures,” and other libations named for niche videogame references. When asked what he loves about Three Lives, bar manager Stephen Clark said: “I like the constant rotation of drinks that we get to create. … It never feels stale; we always have something new and exciting.”


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STAMINA POTION: Stephen Clark pours one of the most popular cocktails at the bar, a mix of rum, pineapple juice, Blue Curacao, Midori, and Mountain Dew.

“I like the community that’s been built at Three lives. Everyone feels welcome, between gamers, nerds, movie buffs and people who just like a good cocktail.” STEPHEN CLARK

SWORD IN STONE: This deconstructed version of “The Legend of Zelda” inspired cocktail consists of gin and St. Germain. This drink is normally served with an inverted shot glass inside that must be pulled out by the customer to mix the drink.

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ESTUS FLASK: This “Dark Souls” inspired cocktail named after the video game’s health recovery flask brings a warming elixir of orange juice, vanilla and whiskey.

MANA POTION: One of the bar’s most popular drinks pays respect to fantasy games by serving gin, Blue Curacao, lemon juice and tonic in a “potion” bottle.

OCTANE STIM: This “Apex Legends” inspired cocktail requires injecting a shot of Midori into the rest of the drink; this is a direct reference to the character Octane using an injected stimulant to increase his physical speed and strength.


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PLASMA GRENADE: A “HALO” inspired shot of vodka with a Blue Curacao “float” and lemon juice mimics the aesthetic of one of the game’s most popular thrown explosives.

WITCHES BREW: This Halloweenthemed cocktail consists of Grenadine, prite and Blue Curacao with silver glitter inside for flare.

RAINBOW ROAD: A Grenadine, Midori and Blue Curacao shot inspired by “Mario Cart’s” most iconic racetrack.

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SLIMER: This “Ghost Busters” inspired cocktail serves a spooky melon and coconut concoction of Midori and coconut cream in a 250ml beaker.

LOWERING THE LIGHTS: Patrons enjoy an evening out during the Three Lives “Black Out” party for New Year’s Eve.

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A Park Reborn After years of restoration efforts, Onondaga Lake Park emerges as a place where human connections flourish BY ANABEL ABREU

After nearly 40 years of marriage, Tricia and Dominic DeNucci’s favorite activity on a warm day is to watch the sunset at Onondaga Lake Park.


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“The Central Park of Central New York.” LOCAL MOTTO

ONONDAGA LAKE wasn’t always the beautiful body of water and tidy landscape it is today. Before European settlement, the lake was a sacred place representing peace for the five local Indigenous nations. By the 20th century, the production and dumping of soda ash plus the growth of the local population had laid the foundation for the lake’s eventual contamination.

After a 15-year, multistage cleanup, the lake was restored to state standards and new amenities built, including bike paths, a skate park, an award-winning dog park and a museum. Maintaining the restoration is an ongoing project, and although the lake itself remains too toxic for recreational use, the park has become a place for people to connect with one another and enjoy its beauty.

The Viera family children skip rocks while enjoying a day full of sunshine at Onondaga Lake.

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Most plastic litter that washes ashore isn’t biodegradable and will break down into micro-plastics that remain in the water and soil for decades to come.

DaBaby, an English Bulldog, strikes a pose for an Instagram portrait.

Josh and Asiyya pose for a picture along the 8-mile path as they leave the park.


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Since the restoration of the lake, more residents have become regular visitors.

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“It’s so beautiful now. It’s crazy to think it was once used as a wasteland.” TRICIA DENUCCI


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After school, Cepeda asks her daughter whether she’d like to go outside to play. Cepeda wants Namayah to enjoy the warm weather before winter brings colder temperatures.

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RAISING NAMAYAH Patience is key for a mother and her special-needs child



assy, caring and hardworking are how family and friends describe Meilin Cepeda, but she knows she comes off as guarded at first, a defense mechanism rooted in her relationship with her mother during her adolescence. Even into adulthood they would go years without speaking to one another. But, that all changed when Cepeda’s youngest child was born. Now, although Cepeda and her mother have not fully come to terms with their past, her mother has become a supportive and present grandmother to Namayah, 3. During the day, Cepeda works as a caregiver for adults with mental disabilities. Upon returning home, she encounters new obstacles with her youngest daughter, who has autism. Namayah’s delayed speech and struggle to understand emotions make it difficult for her to communicate verbally and nonverbally. She frequently has outbursts, but Cepeda is patient, helping her understand her feelings of frustration and how to work through them. “My main focus is to be a good mother to my three daughters,” said Cepeda. “I work toward having a strong relationship with them, a relationship I wish I had with my own mother growing up.”

Cepeda comforts Namayah after she wakes from her nap feeling moody.


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Cepeda cools off pizza for her daughter, who is a picky eater. Namayah’s favorite foods are pizza and ice cream.

After asking her mother to take her outside, Namayah tries to blow a white clover, mistaking it for a dandelion.

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namayah was super excited to see the

animals, and now that we’re here,

she’s more excited about picking out the biggest pumpkin she can

find. i love seeing her happy.” MEILIN CEPEDA

Namayah enjoys her last moments at Critz Farms in Cazenovia after spending the day there with her mother and grandmother.


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Living Between Life & Death A funeral director helps others through grief while keeping a bright outlook on life By KelseyHockenberger

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A Welcoming Face Matt Klinger and funeral assistant Dave Russell await a family at the Goddard-Crandall-Shepardson Funeral Home in Syracuse. Klinger and Russell arrived before sunrise to ensure everything was staged and perfect for the viewing.


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Tools of the Trade Klinger carries his toolbox of makeup in his hearse in case touch-ups are required.


ealing with death is not for the faint of heart. It takes a strong-willed person to help the family of a departed loved one, and Matt Klinger knew from a young age that he was willing to take on that role. “When I look into the eyes of another and am hurt by the anguish evident there, my reflex is to help them,” said Klinger. “I’m compelled to give them direction when they’re lost, and some sense of structure when their world has been shattered.” Klinger can usually be found at the Goddard-Crandall-Shepardson Funeral Home, a white three-story house on the east side. There, he works as the funeral home director, preparing loved ones for their final resting place. He guides family and friends through the arrangements and ensures that their loved ones are presented as they remember them, a job he’s been passionate about since he was licensed in 1979. His job requires commitment, sometimes allowing only one weekend off a month. It’s a difficult job, but it’s worth it to Matt. “As long as I can remember, I have felt compelled to help others, especially when that person is in pain. Looking back at all of the choices I thought I was making were actually

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God pushing me to where I was needed most,” said Klinger. Even though Klinger finds helping others important, it can still put a strain on his mental health. He’s learned to separate himself from the realities of his work by taking up hobbies. The dirt-encrusted shoes on the stairs to his apartment are evidence of a time of reflection and the peace he finds while hiking through miles of local forest. Gemstones and minerals glimmer in the light along the counter tops, keepsakes he found while digging to discover hidden wonders. His workspace and hobby table surfaces are cluttered with more remnants of his adventures: Carefully hand-tied flies tell of the exhilaration he feels when he catches and reels in a big fish on the river; rare coins carefully wrapped in individual packages hold fond memories of Klinger’s interest in collecting them and discovering their history; photos of his children and grandchildren tell of the adventures of love and evolution of a growing family. In a few years, Klinger will retire and turn his full attention to the hobbies that have grounded him. He’ll also spend his days traveling, enjoying nature, collecting memories, and creating new family adventures.

Attention to Detail is Key Preparing for a viewing, Klinger dusts every surface, from the chairs and tables to the baseboards and lampshades. “Everything must be clean and perfect to create the least amount of stress for grieving families.”

“My prayer is to look into those eyes when we part and see hope and maybe a glimmer of peace.” Always Working At his hobby table, Klinger creates one large Herkimer diamond, a type of quartz crystal, by gluing together multiple Herkimer diamonds he dug up by hand.


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Hobbies For Days Kinger’s hobby table grows more cluttered as he collects more Herkimer diamonds, rare coins and fly fishing flies.

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Early Morning Wake up Call Klinger starts his day with his favorite morning drink, coffee with two creams, at Mother’s Cupboard in Syracuse.

Every Moment Matters On the rare days when Klinger gets out of work early, he visits places like Taughannock Falls State Park in Trumansburg to decompress in the wild.

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Cycle of Life A dead salmon floats toward Klinger and his two grandsons on the Salmon River in Pulaski.

Cherishing Sweet Moments As a reward for good grades, Klinger takes his grandsons fishing. Here he helps his grandson Jayden Fenton cross the Salmon River during the salmon run in Pulaski.


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Apple Empire


by cody beam


mong the rolling hills and valleys of LaFayette, Beak & Skiff Apple Orchard has been a staple of Central New York for five generations and more than one hundred years. When George Skiff, an onion farmer, and Andrew Beak, a dairy farmer, met at the local farmers market in 1911, they decided to join forces to start an apple business. The company has expanded its reach and range of products extensively over those years. Beak & Skiff now grows 19 varieties of apples, which are transformed into fritters, pastries, and pies that are sold on-site in the bakery. Between late August and early November, Beak & Skiff opens to the public for “pick your own” apple picking while surrounded by the sights and sounds of Central New York.

Stephanie Cervantes takes in the scenery that has attracted visitors for generations, making her own memories of the scenic orchards.


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In addition to pastries and hardpressed ciders, the apples grown at Beak & Skiff are also turned into vodkas in flavors like rose, cold brew and vanilla chai.

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eak & Skiff created its 1911 brand of ciders in 2001. Following that success, it began distilling hard liquors in 2010 when it acquired the first distilling license in Onondaga county and began producing gin. In the years since and while capitalizing on a process that begins in its orchard and ends in the tasting room, the company’s 1911 Established product line grew and now includes ciders, wines and other spirits, like whiskey and vodka.

The McIntosh variety is the most popular apple in the northeastern United States and is ripe and ready for picking from early fall to early winter.

Patrons gather on a bright and sunny day in front of 1911 Established’s tasting room, which features drinks and food made with apples picked from the orchard behind the building.


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Worlds Away An escape to the wild

MORGAN HILL STATE FOREST Almost half of the 5,200 acre forest is home to 70-year-old conifer trees, originally planted from 4 million seeds in the early 1930's, within Morgan Hill State Forest in Cortland.

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By Kelsey KelseyHockenberger Hockenberger


ound within 180 state parks beyond the concrete jungle of New York lies a vast wilderness. More than 2,000 miles of hiking and biking trails carve through the state. Stunning views and many textures of landscape draw people from all over the U.S. Among the hills tower the 46 peaks of the Adirondack Mountains. Surrounded by 6.2 million acres, it’s a sought-after destination for hikers and climbers whose goal is to reach the top of every peak and join the “46er’s club.” Flowing through the valleys are over 7,600 lakes and ponds, as well as 70,000 miles of rivers and streams. It’s a paradise for recreational fishing, kayaking and canoeing. Whether they go to sleep under the stars, to feel the exhilaration of fighting and landing a big fish, or to push their physical limits to reach a mountain summit, more than 78 million visitors per year have escaped to find their connection to the wild.

SALMON RIVER Arriving early is key to getting a spot on the overcrowded 12mile stretch open to public fishing during spawning season. Every fall, hordes of fishermen descend on Pulaski's banks and waters to catch Chinook, Coho and Atlantic salmon.

PULASKI A fisherman for over 30 years, Will Watkins spends 10 hours a day — some of that waiting for the sun to rise — on the Salmon River during spawning season. "From sitting there first thing in the morning and looking up at all the stars to the sounds of the fish splashing, people with smiles, to the sounds of the water as it flows past you," said Watkins, "It's like watching life right before your eyes. I enjoy fishing for many reasons: the thrill of the fight, the capture of what could be the next trophy, but most of all, I enjoy it because of the enjoyment it puts on everyone's faces."


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GREEN LAKES As he walks along the Indian Ovens Trail at Green Lakes State Park in Fayetteville, Matt Klinger remembers playing pretend as a young boy in the similar dolomite formations of his hometown. Klinger spends time outside as a way to relax and let go of his problems.

LITTLE FALLS Engaging in his favorite hobby, Klinger searches through excavated dirt for Herkimer diamonds, a quartz crystal, at Diamond Mountain Mining in Little Falls.

MORGAN HILL To help cope with the difficulties they faced during COVID-19, George Chalsen and his wife, Jenna Chalsen, listen to music while camping with friends at Morgan Hill State Park in Cortland.

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LAKE PLACID In her first summit hike, Caitlin Brink climbs to the top of Tabletop Mountain, one of 46 high peaks in the Adirondacks. "Being outside keeps me grounded. Hiking and pushing myself out of my comfort zone reminds me that the world is much bigger than my problems."

Off to market A Central New York farmers market provides in-season products year-round

BUYING FROM THE SOURCE Each week, a Finger Lakes Farm vendor takes locally produced food to the market. The farm’s animals are free-range and raised without hormones or GMO additives.



very Saturday, hundreds of farmers and vendors arrive before sunrise to prepare their booths for the busiest day of the week at the Central New York Regional Market. Soon, the vacant lots fill with cars and trucks ready to be unloaded and fill six open-air pavilions. No vacant rows remain, as every space is reserved. Established in 1938 and drawing customers looking for local produce, crafts, dairy products, flowers, baked goods and meats, this year-round

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market opens at 7 a.m., just as the early birds trickle in for the best picks of the day. As they walk through the aisles, produce-lined tables and baskets provide a sea of color that mingles with earthy aromas and the sweet smell of confections and flowers. They also meet the local craftsman and farmers who provide them with fresh seasonal choices. In the end, the community connection and the experience itself seem to offer a popular alternative to a brick-and-mortar supermarket.

GREEN EATS Customers inspect produce and haggle for a better price on cabbages and Brussels sprouts, the best of which have tightly wrapped leaves, bright green colors and firm stems.


Autumn is the time for plums, peppers, carrots and rutabagas.

COZY AND COMFORTABLE Claddagh Farm sells textiles and crafts made from the soft, warm and hypoallergenic fleece of the multi-colored alpacas they breed.


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THE HUSTLE AND BUSTLE From summer through fall, the spaces between the permanent pavilions provide overflow spots for additional vendors.


EDGE By Louis Staats

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Log bars are just one of the many kinds of strength training equipment Edge provides to help lifters, many of whom compete in local and national contests, including CrossFit, powerlifting, Olympic style weightlifting and long-distance running.

Ryan Vollmer is not only the founder of Edge Strength and Conditioning, but also one of several personal trainers.


yan Vollmer opened Edge Strength and Conditioning gym in March of 2014 on the outskirts of downtown Syracuse, New York. The gym offers a selection of group exercise classes that range from high intensity calisthenics to heavy lifting barbell techniques. It is open 24 hours to members as well, allowing patrons to workout in solitude if they so choose. Ryan Vollmer opened Edge Strength and Conditioning gym in March of 2014 on the outskirts of downtown Syracuse, New York. The gym offers a selection of group exercise classes that range from high intensity calisthenics to heavy lifting barbell techniques. It is open 24 hours to members as well, allowing patrons to workout in solitude if they so choose.

Xavier Vollmer, left, son of Edge owner Ryan Vollmer, is a regular at his father’s gym. The front access lot, above, provides space for outdoor high-intensity workouts.


When he opened Edge Strength and Conditioning in March 2014 just outside downtown Syracuse, owner Ryan Vollmer realized his vision for a gym that would cultivate friendships and create a sense of community while providing the space and equipment for competitive athletes to train. Vollmer and his team of professional trainers provide group and individual workouts for athletes of all levels, including well attended classes that range from highintensity calisthenics to lessons in heavy-lifting barbell techniques. MPJ

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U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Stephanie Cervantes, a communication strategy and operations chief, trains several days a week at Edge. She hopes to become a competitive CrossFitter.

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Weighted plates are used in Edge’s Barbell Club, a strength training class designed to teach proper lifting techniques.

Athletes use chalk to reduce perspiration and improve grip while exercising.

Still rings, suspended from the ceiling, are used for calisthenic workouts.


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CONFIDENCE & A COMPETITIVE EDGE Many Edge members compete in CrossFit and powerlifting, including Suze Carey, who is training in Olympic-style weightlifting for her next competition. An undergraduate adviser at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, Carey, like many of Edge’s clientele, works while also pursuing her athletic passions.

Xavier Vollmer works his biceps with spider curls. He achieves a full range of motion by leaning on an incline bench, promoting muscle and strength gains.

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Some athletes use chalk to record rounds of sets during a workout, check progress and maintain accountability.

Carey completes elevated side-planks as part of her warm-up routine before strength training.


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Now 27, Carson Metcalf has been interested in the weather since he was three years old. In elementary school, he was called “The Weatherman” because of his ardent love for the outdoors and the weather. Originally from Fulton and no stranger to the forecasting challenges of Central New York, Metcalf graduated from SUNY Oswego in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in meteorology and a minor in mathematics. Soon after, He joined the local Spectrum News 1 cable news channel, which provides weather forecasts for stations in Ithaca, Buffalo, Albany and Syracuse, as well as smaller cities and towns. Recently, other broadcast markets—including New York City and Los Angeles—have recruited Metcalf to occasionally fill in and report on their regions. In a soundproof studio, Metcalf uses a green screen to deliver forecasts, recording off-air before sending it to Spectrum headquarters in New York City for broadcast. He said he enjoys this process because it allows him to go into the office on his own schedule and record as many times as necessary to get the recording just right.

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By Alex Kubitza

Prerecorded weather forecasts feature Metcalf delivering details for multiple areas around Central New York. Forecasts play on a loop all day on Spectrum News 1.

Responsible for maintaining his appearance on camera, Metcalf applies concealer before going into the studio.

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The Metcalf siblings often get together for dinner at their childhood home in Fulton. Metcalf’s sister, Molly Metcalf, and his best friend and roommate, Andrew Tilley, make an Italian dish.

Metcalf often includes autographed photos of himself when replying to fan mail.


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Unless important weather advisories must be reported, Metcalf typically works six days a week for five hours a day at the Spectrum News 1 office, a former train station.

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Behind the Scenes The photographers, editors and designers



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JACKGNOSCA U.S. Marine Corps






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This project represents the combined efforts of the Department of Defense Visual Information specialists training at Syracuse University. The training these students received will soon be applied in support of DoD missions around the world.

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