Women of Upstate New York Magazine 2016 July/Aug

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The Mix Tape Of Your Life


riving along in the car and the world is flying by your window. Consumed in your own thoughts, not even noticing the turns you’re taking on the ever familiar drive home, when suddenly a song comes through the stereo speakers, that is everything you need to hear at that moment. It speaks to you in a way that couldn’t be an accident or coincidence. Sound familiar? There been times when I’ve been so lost and alone with no words to accurately portray what is happening inside. In that moment, a song has passed over my ears that understands and speak my feelings so succinctly that it’s both alarming and comforting at the same time. There’s a shocking realization that someone out there has felt this very same thing, and have discovered the great mystery of putting words to it. And then to top it all off, they’ve lived to tell the story. If that isn’t a miracle, I’m not really sure what is. Music has a way of reaching us on a deeply emotional level. Whether it’s the melody that moves you without speaking a single word, or lyrics that speak what your heart has known all along. So often music is associated with a particular moment. It’s no wonder that people take songs and attach them to feelings, moments, and phases of their lives. Whether it is picking the hymns that go along with mass, or a song that sweethearts dance to and claim as “ours”, people have had an intimate relationship with music for centuries. It’s never been easier than today to compile a list a mismatched songs that convey everything that you cannot. When people hear “mix tape” they most often think of love mixes, the songs you’ve compiled for partner that convey the ex-



By Molly Lizzio, MA, LMFT tent of how much you cherish him or her. But creativity has spread and people also create other mixes as well, to help convey other major feelings. Sometimes it’s a list of sad songs to feel validation and empathy that helps to sit and be sad for a while. Other times it’s songs that have a great beat and help to get through a particularly difficult workout. Because of my belief in the incredible power of music, I often incorporate it into my work with clients. I find creativity brings out some of the best insight. I sometimes task clients with making the soundtrack of their lives. To tell their entire story in song, what can fit on one CD. It’s incredible to see the progression of the songs unfold to show the ups and downs. I’ve had people get really into it and even create album covers that are representative of the collection of music and stories. It’s a beautiful way to reflect on your journey. Let the music carry you away to another time, another place, another version of yourself. Those emotions still reside in you, and are awoken when they hear the music play. Once completed, take a look at the list and decide how you feel about it. Do you love it? Do you hate it? Do you wish it was different? How might it change in the next year? The next 10 years. Heck, make a soundtrack of what you want those 10 years to look like. Then go out and manifest it. Here’s a list of many ideas to start you off: Your Childhood: A song that brings you back to who you were when you were little. Your Parents: You can choose a mother or a father, or one for each. Whether it’s about your relationship, or the lack thereof. Your First Love: What did you feel at

the time, what do you feel now looking back, what song brings you back to that moment? Your Last Love: This can be your current sweetheart, or the last one to leave you Your First Car: The freedom you had behind the wheel, the places you went, and the people you took with you. Makes You Feel 18 Again: Whether it was popular at the time, or speaks to who you were back then Your Marriage: At any stage of the game Your children: What you felt when they came into your world, or what it was like to raise them

Your Biggest Heartbreak: Was it a divorce? A breakup that took you completely by surprise, or one you saw coming 100 miles away as you sat powerless to stop it? Your Best Friends: When you were young, or who got you through college, or who you called yesterday for that recipe you needed Your Job: Your favorite job, your worst job, your boss, your co-workers

Your Best Vacation Ever: Where you went, who you were with, what made it memorable? The Theme Song You’d Pick For Your Favorite Book: Think of what made the book special for you, what sticks out?

Your Money Song: What is your money story or what do you want it to be?


Gets You Out of Your Seat At Weddings: Every time. No matter what. Your Motivation Song: What gets you fired up to take on the world

Your Lonely Song: What song speaks to what you think and feel when you’re feeling lonely? Your Angry Song: Expresses the anger you keep in Your Happy Song: What will be guaranteed to bring a smile A Song About Home: Whatever ‘home’ means to you Your Anthem: What song sums you up as a whole. What comes on the arena speakers as you come out for the fight of your life?



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few years ago, the FDA cleared CoolSculpt for cryogenic destruction of fat cells in the abdomen and flanks. In 2015, a new heat based laser technology, SculpSure, also received FDA approval for the same. Marketing of these devices is designed to make you think that the fat is either being frozen or melted when, in fact, both SculpSure and CoolSculpt technologies create controlled damage to targeted fat cells, causing a natural process within the body called apoptosis. Apoptosis, sometimes referred to as “programmed cell death,” is when a damaged cell shrinks and sends out a chemical “distress signal” to the body causing Macrophages to come in and clear the cells away. Cells that are eliminated in this fashion leave no debris behind, and no trace of ever having been there. By the time we reach adulthood, we have a set number of fat cells. As we gain and lose weight, these fat cells expand or shrink. Until recently, the only way to eliminate these cells altogether was through direct excision or liposuction. The cells would have to be surgically removed in ways that the body perceived as traumatic. There would be much associated inflammation and discomfort. The body would have to “heal” from the trauma. In a study presented by Dr Decorato, a research consultant with Cynosure/SculpSure, one flank treatment with SculpSure was equivalent to one flank treatment with CoolSculpt. The difference is that one treatment with SculpSure lasts 25 minutes and one with CoolSculpt lasts 60 minutes. Another big difference is that CoolSculpt


Noninvasive Fat Reduction:

By: Beth Phillips,RPAC pulls and cools the tissue between two plates, and only one area may be treated at a time. SculpSure treatment lasers sit flat on top of the tissue, and four separate applicator heads can be placed on multiple areas or configured to provide the most beneficial arrangement for a specific patient. It seems that a wider range of patients are able to be treated by SculpSure because smaller, tighter patients who do not have enough fat to be pinched between the plates with CoolSculpt can still have areas of fat treated.

one treatment to achieve their goals. If you are considering having these treatments, as with any medical procedure, you should first be evaluated by a qualified practitioner to see if you are an appropriate candidate. For some patients, surgery may still be a better option. A good practitioner should discuss realistic expectations with you to be sure that you are satisfied with your results.

These procedures should not be considered a weight loss regimen. This is body contouring or sculpting. It is meant to target stubborn areas of fat. It is ideal for patients who are not far from their target weight goals but seem to hold disproportionate amounts of fat in certain regions. In addition, continued attention to diet and exercises are essential in maintaining the results. In today’s society, there is a trend for bigger results with less effort in many aspects of our lives. Fat reduction is one of them. Many people are unwilling to be placed under anesthesia for elective cosmetic procedures, but would like to see similar results. These new technologies allow for that. Both SculpSure and CoolSculpt allow for the patient to resume regular activity following the treatments. So unlike surgical options, the patient can return to work or exercise immediately following the treatment. Most people will see results in 5-12 weeks, and many will require more than WOUNY.COM • JULY/ AUGUST 2016



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Mary McCandless Publisher, Editor-in-Chief editor@womenofupstateny.com

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Demystifying Diabetes, One Mile At A Time By: Christine Vickers


n June 12th, hundreds packed Verona Beach State park to participate in the Tour de Cure an annual cycling event that raises funds for the American Diabetes Association. Their mission is to prevent, cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by the disease. For Patty Downey Palladino and her family, this organization has been a lifeline of support for the past several years. Patty’s son Frankie was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 6 and since then her family, which includes husband Mike and daughter Rachel have made it their mission to raise awareness. Patty said Frankie’s’ diagnosis was an unpleasant surprise. “We thought he had the flu. He had been sick for several days and over the course of a longer period of time, had lost a fair amount of weight.” After a bout of vomiting, they took him to the Emergency Room where a doctor made the diagnosis. That’s when life shifted. This shift included ensuring Frankie was safe both at home and at school. It was a rough road in the beginning. “People said, it’s just diabetes, don’t eat any doughnuts. They didn’t understand or recognize the seriousness of the disease or how to help Frankie manage it.” There were also some misconceptions that diabetes was somehow the fault of the person afflicted by it. “One of my main goals was to help people understand that all types of diabetes are bad, and its no one’s fault. “Patty says. As she educated Frankie, family and herself, she became a Safe at School advocate through the American Diabetes Association. “We had our struggles in the beginning with making the school district aware of what they needed to do to ensure Frankie’s safety. Once educated, his teachers and coaches have been great.” The Eagle Hill Middle School in the Fayetteville Manlius School District has volun teered to be trained to administer glucagon,

an injection that is given in response to a severe episode of hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia, is a dangerous condition for diabetics and is characterized by abnormally low blood-glucose and blood sugar levels. Family and friends also stepped up to be trained and to offer help. “I’m so grateful for the amazing friends we have. These are people who always made sure Frankie was included in activities and learned how to care for him so that he could go over to play at their house. The Village of Manlius rallied around Frankie and his family. “A few years back during our initial stage of bringing awareness to the disease, my kids thought that maybe if we could get the town to understand, then the school district would also.” The Swan Pond is a focal landmark in Manlius and lit up at Christmas, so we approached the Mayor about lighting it up blue for Diabetes Awareness Month in November.” Local area businesses also assisted with creating T-shirts, and raising money with a percentage going to the American Diabetes Association and soon a grass-roots organization, What’s your Type? Operation Awareness was born. The Palladino’s traveled to parades and functions around the state working to raise awareness for this disease. Frankie was named a New York State Youth Ambassa

dor by the American Diabetes Association. Patty describes how incredibly proud she is of both of her children. “Frankie will say, “I hate this.” But then he’ll go and just carry on.” Frankie and his sister Rachel share a special bond. Earlier this year, Frankie was awarded a special vacation, from the Syracuse chapter of the Dream Factory, to Los Angeles to see his favorite team the Lakers play basketball. Prior to the trip, he made sure to let them know that while in California his sister wanted to see Disneyland. Rachel is one of his biggest champions. Patty said, “I’m blessed because God just made them that way.” The Palladino’s have been involved in many Tour de Cure rides. But this year’s ride was different, Patty participated in the race. In previous years she stayed on the sidelines. “I didn’t want to be out on a bike unavailable if he were to get sick during the race.” Patty did the Caregiver’s mile and dedicated all 10 miles of her ride to those individuals whose journeys have included providing comfort and care to their loved ones dealing with diabetes. She also put her health on a back burner, and in the process put on weight that she is now working to shed. Down 30+ pounds and feeling great, with the encouragement of her “trainers” Rachel and Frankie and are determined to meet her goal. Patty’s worry over Frankie’s safety has lessened to a degree, over the last few years. Frankie has shown knowledge and responsibility for managing his health along with full support at school. The fear never completely disappears. “You have to look over the cliff and jump, and believe the parachute will open.” Yet, her commitment to diabetes awareness and advocacy remains firm. “I was once told to advocate like my life depends on it…because somebody’s does! “ WOUNY.COM • JULY/ AUGUST 2016


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Artistic Designs By



By: Audrey Levinson


met Judi Witkin, a master bead artist, in her studio at the Delavan Center. I always ask to meet where the art is because I realize that this is the most important place for that person to talk and describe what they are passionate about. In other words, it’s there, not in coffee shop or a park, for example, but it’s the place that allows the artist to think and visualize and ultimately express their inner artistic spirituality. I can see that. I can feel it there as well. I thought about this as I heard those words again “The best thing I ever did was to get this studio.” However, I don’t want to disqualify the artist who has the space to set up at home but even in that situation a part of the home has become “their” own corner of the world. Judi creates some of the most beautiful jewelry and beaded items that I have ever seen. Her work is minuscule, each tiny bead being stitched one at a time. The outcome is that her pieces are not minuscule but a grand design of color, shape and captivating beauty. In the end, these elements flow elegantly together. Judi told me that she is a fine motor person. She does not enjoy working with mediums who smear around like clay and paint, though she received her



undergrad in painting at the College of Art in Philadelphia near where she grew up. She always played with art materials trying to find the one that spoke to her heart. One evening in February, Judi drove to Hamilton. She had a speaking engagement with the Hamilton Garden Club. Her trip did not go as planned. She was snowed in by one of our Nor’Easters and spent three days there. The president of the club in Hamilton, whom she stayed with happened to be a master beadier and taught Judi how to bead the peyote stitch and read a pattern. She considers those three days as finding her Rosetta Stone. From there she could create an endless array of beaded beauties using that stitch as a base. After she told me that story, I asked her if she still had the first piece she ever made. With a wide smile and sparkling eyes, she pulled a bracelet hanging in front of her and said she keeps it there always remembering her humble beginnings. She began to experiment and still does with what she could stitch around. Judith found she could stitch around just about anything. She showed me many examples of dried acrylic paint blobs that she scrapes from her husband’s studio (they really are

quite interesting), cabochons, antique buttons, fossils, and any kind of stone (the list goes on). She is also certified in PMC a substance that is 90% pure silver but is in the form of a clay before it’s fired. She creates small silicon molds and used them to form faces of people, animals, and objects with the PMC clay to bead around. She showed me two fabrics that she uses called soutache and shibori. Soutache is a trimming that has a history of being used to decorate Victorian dresses, military uniforms and is used in bookbinding as well. Shibori is a Japanese form of tie dying and comes in an array of colors and dye on fine silk. Judi’s work is so unique, and she is as happy with the infinite directions she can bead in as a painter is with her many colors and textures in paint. Judi’s work is currently at Studio 54 in Skaneateles, NY, Artmart (in the fall) in Syracuse, NY, the third weekend in July at Curbside in the town of Skaneateles, NY, and in August of 2017 at the Edgewood Gallery, Syracuse, NY. She is often in her studio 224 at Delavan Center, 501 West Fayette St., Syracuse or her website judi@thebeadershand. com.

IN ART Judi made an entertaining comment that many artists can relate to… “if compliments were money, I’d be a billionaire!” WOUNY.COM • JULY/ AUGUST 2016


LucianoMiceliphotography 315-944-8212 2016-2017

OCTOBER 18-20, 2016

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FEB. 28-MAR. 2, 2017







6 Female Artists

to Listen to This Summer By Abbey Adams 1.) Ariana Grande: Her latest album, Dangerous Woman gives you everything you need at your summer BBQ. Some classic pop/ dance jams (“Be Alright,” “Bad Decisions,” “Everyday,” “Greedy”) and chill tunes for when the sun goes down (“Moonlight,” “Sometimes,” “Knew Better/Forever Boy”) Grande packs some serious lady power with her impeccable vocal runs and insanely hypnotic beats, not to mention her overly poetic lyrics. On “Moonlight,” she sings, “I kiss his fingertips, as I’m wishing he’s all mines.” Dangerous Woman is a sweet Popsicle start to finish. Good luck getting this masterpiece out of your head. 2.) Fifth Harmony: With song titles like, “That’s My Girl,” “Work from Home,” and “Not That Kinda Girl” these ladies are the ultimate girl group in pop music right now. Each song bump and grinds just as much as the next. The girls recently told Ryan Seacrest about their new album saying, “There’s a lot more maturity involved, which we really, really enjoyed.”Add some flawless harmonies and sassy lyrics, and you’ll become a harmonizer on your boat for the next two months. 3.) Dreezy: Also known as Seandrea Sledge. This Chicago native proves her R&B skills with her steamy hit single, “Body” featuring R&B Prince Jeremih. “Body” brought her right into the hip-hop/rap scene. She croons, “Yo body on my body, baby. I’m about to catch a body in here baby.” A fun bouncy beat leads her catchy lyrics right into your car speakers as you cruise down the highway with your friends. Dreezy’s album, Schizo packs a serious punch with aggressive lyrics, and classic hip-hop sounds (Listen to, “Ain’t For None,” “Lonely,” and “Truth Hurts”) Dreezy is quickly making a name for herself and is on her way to becoming a big deal this year.

4.) Katy Perry: No one can go wrong with Ms. Perry. Whether it’s dancing with your grandma to “Birthday,” reminiscing with friends on “TGIF (Last Friday Night)” or embracing life with “Firework,” It’s safe to say, Katy Perry should always be on your summer playlist. Old hits from One of the Boys (“Thinking of You”), or her latest album, Prism (“This Is How We Do”) are guaranteed to make you smile. Katy Perry always lights up the night with gorgeously produced anthems you can’t help but love. 5.) AlunaGeorge: You might remember her voice from the hit song “You Know You Like It” remixed by DJ Snake with a killer tap beat and bass drop. This English duo led by singer Aluna Francis mixes electronic, pop, and alternative sounds to create some of the coolest songs. Their hit single, “I’m In Control” takes on a Caribbean vibe as Aluna’s sweet vocals croon over a pulsating beat. The chorus hits and dancing is mandatory. Another latest single is the bass heavy “My Blood” featuring dance master, Zhu. The song has emotional lyrics with a curling beat. Try NOT to play AlunaGeorge at your next beach bash. 6.) Beyoncé: After her surprise album, Lemonade, the world started buzzing about Beyoncé again, and for good reason. Songs like, “Hold Up,” and “Sorry” hold true to the Queen B’s sass we know and love. “Can’t you see there’s no other man above you? What a wicked way to treat the girl that loves you,” are the word’s B spits out of her mouth at her scorned lover. Lemonade is a true dramatic work of art. Boat rides listening to “Daddy Lessons” will bring you back to the country, while “Don’t

Hurt Yourself ” is the perfect blues tune for your sun bathing days. WOUNY.COM • JULY/ AUGUST 2016


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By: Mary Ann Pierce, CLU


ummertime is finally here! It’s a wonderful time for many of us to relax, and catch our breath. It is time to see family, and friends who we may not have seen for too long. It can also be a perfect time to meet with your Financial Advisor, to review your progress towards your future financial goals. When meeting with your Advisor, make sure to bring any updated financial statements that you’ve received. This would include account statements for any assets that are not being managed by your Advisor (such as 401(k) statements, pension statements, 403(b) statements, etc.) If you have annual statements for your insurance policies, be sure to include them as well. It is also very helpful to bring a copy of your most-recent tax return. This will help your advisor determine where current and future dollars might be invested to meet your goals. This is especially important for taxable investments (those not sheltered in a retirement plan or Individual Retirement Account, either Traditional or ROTH). A current cash flow (some folks call it a “budget” – I think “cash flow” is a more positive way to look at it!) is helpful in determining if there are expenses that may be decreased or omitted, which would allow you to save more towards your goals. I’ve also found it to be very effective personally to see if there are areas that I’m not putting my money to its best use; for example, too many coffee stops, or more lunches out than are good for me or my bank account!

situation. Remember, this meeting is for and about you – your questions and concerns always come first! During your meeting, your advisor will review your investments and progress since you last met. Hopefully, this is not much longer than a year – it is so important to keep your information up to date, so that your advisor can do the best job possible for you. You will certainly be interested in the overall performance of your accounts. However, I would also suggest having a discussion with your advisor to ensure that your investments remain suitable to your current situation and for attaining your future financial goals. Remember, performance figures change frequently -sometimes from minute to the minute! It is important to keep in mind that as many of your investments are long term, they should be monitored with an eye to how well they will be able to support your future goals. So, please make time to meet with your Financial Advisor for a review of your financial strategy and plan. It will only take an hour or so of your time, and you will realize the benefits of having this annual “check up” for years to come.

Securities and investment advice offered through Cadaret, Grant & Co., Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC Marathon Financial Advisors, Inc. and Cadaret, Grant & Co., Inc. are separate entities.

Most importantly, be sure to update your Advisor with any changes to your current situation. There are many life changes that will impact future financial goals, such as a marriage or divorce, having another child, a child entering college, parents’ health (if you are now caring for or supporting a parent) or a job change. Anything and everything is important, and your advisor will want to know about it. If it affects you, it will affect your planning. I always suggest to my clients that they bring a list of questions with them to our appointment. These could be thoughts they’ve jotted down over the past year, items they’ve received in the mail that they would like to discuss, or articles that they’ve read and would like to review and discuss the relevance to their personal WOUNY.COM • JULY/ AUGUST 2016


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This year & discover CanandaiguaWineries: Arbor Hill, Heron Hill & Hazlitt Vineyards Sunday September 18th. Ticket Price: $ 117.00

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BUS TASTING FEES BREAKFAST - Donuts, Bagels, Coffee, OJ LUNCH - Arbor Hill DINNER - Buffet - Ramada Geneva Lakefront (Go to wouny.com to view Full Dinner Menu, Details & to purchase your ticket or call 632-1549) Special Thanks to Chobani and Waterloo Premium Outlets

Tour to benefit: The KEYS Program helping children heal through music. www.thekeysprogram.org

2016 Wine Tour Benefits: The KEYS PROGRAM! ars of our e y 5 2 g in t Celebra Red bleMenrldot! e s p li c E e vignon signatur bernet Sau Cabernet Fr

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Taste our full portfolio of wines at 3 locations. Keuka Lake Seneca Lake Canandaigua


(800) 441-4241

The KEYS Program is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that delivers music, hope and smiles to kids battling cancer, and those in need of healing. through our award-winning music therapy, outreach, education and patient support programs. Since we were founded in 1993, the KEYS Program has delivered over 80,000 smiles! Thank you to our sponsors to help make this a great trip for a wonderful cause.

Raising Kids to Become Successful Adults: 2 CNY Moms Share Advice; Their Mission Accomplished!


By: Kristen Penfield

ost of us have heard the phrase “helicopter parent.” We consciously avoid becoming that. We have also frowned upon parents for not being involved enough with their kids. So, how do we know when our involvement is just right? Is there a ‘just right’? We want our kids to stand on their own, but how much parental elbow grease is needed to turn out kids with wonderful talents and guaranteed bright futures? And of course, happiness. How can we step back and watch them make mistakes? When do we step in and help? What risks do we tolerate? How do they handle situations when we’re not around? Are we doing this parenting thing right? We decided to go straight to the source: moms who have already raised their children who are now successful adults in our community.

Karen Matott, Mother of 22-year-old Meteorologist, Molly Matott

Lisa Barlow, Mother of 25-year-old Oswego Mayor, Billy Barlow



We sat down with Karen Matott, whose daughter, Molly Matott, 22, is a Meteorologist for CNYCentral. Molly received her Bachelor’s degree in Meteorology from the State University of New York at Oswego. Molly was born and raised in CNY, graduating from Liverpool High School. In college, Molly was involved in many different clubs and organizations, including being Chief Meteorologist for her college station, an orientation leader, an Irish dance teacher as well as receiving the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence. Molly and her mother Karen are quite similar. They shared so many fun stories and memories, as well as traits and looks. Kindness was something that came easy to both. We also spoke with Lisa Barlow, whose son, Billy Barlow, 25, is the youngest mayor in New York State. Billy received his Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Technology from Arizona State University. He was born and raised in CNY, graduating from Oswego High School. He is a city councilman as well as an entrepreneur, running his family business, Barlow’s Concessions. In an instant, it was easy to notice the love and respect between Billy and his mother, Lisa. They laughed and joked as we

sat with them, but they also knew the exact elements that made him who he is today. Raising Molly: Karen Matott and her husband Bob, married 26 years, raised Molly to understand that family is very important and regardless of where she goes, she is never alone. Karen said, “We knew from a young age, based on Molly’s habits, that she would be successful, but taught her to always be real. Money is not the goal, never chase it. We told her that what is important is her morals and to always be kind and humble.” Karen and Bob were a team when raising Molly – it was a 50/50 deal. They taught Molly from an early age that if she wanted something badly enough, she would have to work hard for it; and sometimes that meant waiting for things. They never lived beyond their means. “Many times I felt like I was always telling her, no. I was very protective and wanted every detail of where she was going, with whom, etc.,” said Karen. “I worked in Corporate America for 25 years. That was hard sometimes, while other moms stayed home full-time. But Bob and I knew we were giving her what she needed, and that she would fly,” she added.

“Molly comes from a long line of strong women in her family,” stated Karen. “Every Sunday we spent visiting grandparents and having dinner together,” she added. It bonded their family and shined a light on family values. Molly and her mom have always been extremely close. It was evident that they will remain so. “Growing up, Molly was a little more sheltered than other kids, because we said no a lot,” Karen said. “We gave her enough leash to experience failure too. We always stressed to Molly that she should never give up in life because she has only one shot at this.” [Yes, even the flute, they demanded she not give up]. “Since kindergarten, when she was deemed gifted, Molly soared ever since. She excelled academically, at dance and stage crew in high school,” Karen added. [She can even build an A-frame]! Molly learned from her parents to never overcommit herself. Molly said, “I knew my limits, what I could handle and when to put my foot down. I have incredibly supportive parents. They weren’t cheerleaders all the time; they guided me. They were firm, never mean, but also kept it fun. I am a perfect blend of both of them.” WOUNY.COM • JULY/ AUGUST 2016


Raising Billy: Lisa Barlow and her husband Bill consistently delivered the same message to Billy and his sister Emily (22) as they were growing up. Lisa said, “We always let them know that they come first. We showed them that, we told them that. We insisted that most (negative) things that happen in their lives are fixable.” She added, “Billy knew growing up that his Dad and I were always doing what was best for him. Family time was important to us. Family dinners were consistent in our home, and we always made time for game night.” Lisa told us that Billy was not a hard child to raise. As a young boy, he was an avid reader of history books. He loved to spend time with his group of friends, and Lisa was certain to limit time for video games. What he did receive was an environment that was consistent, noninterfering, filled



with hard work and a lot of love. “Billy was not in trouble much growing up,” Lisa stated. “In high school, he once stayed out past his curfew, came in the house, apologized to us and grounded himself for two weeks,” she added. However, only to find out that was to avoid his parents revoking his concert tickets. Did we mention that Billy was quick-thinking? “When Billy was young, several teachers told me that he stood out as a very special boy. He was always a leader and never followed other kids. He always did what he wanted to do and truly remains the same in that respect,” Lisa said. Working hard was an important factor that Lisa and her husband instilled in Billy. Their family business demanded that all four of them work together as a team. Many weekends were spent traveling and working, regardless of their social calendar. Though it kept Billy very busy, it also built pride, self-confidence and leadership skills that have helped him reach his successes.

“When Billy bought his first car at age 16, he was sure to get a pick-up truck so that he could help the family business even more,” Lisa said. “Billy enjoyed working and being a leader,” she added. Lisa said, “When it’s time for them to fly on their own, know that you’ve done the best you can. Let them know you will always be there as their safety net.” What stands out most to Billy about growing up? Aside from the unconditional love within their family, Billy said, “Encouragement and respect. My parents always showed us that they believed in us and in our decisions to do what we like.” When growing up, Both Billy and Molly’s parents insisted they always act accordingly in this world, as they are a representation of their family. Perhaps Billy and Molly can now say that right back to their parents?




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Jacque Tara-Washington


By: Amari D. Pollard

Photography: Luciano

f you look hard enough at the people around you the ones who brush shoulders and hold doors and stare at the ground you’ll notice a thin film encompassing them. However, the key is: You have to look up and outside of the one separating you from everyone else. We close ourselves off in these tight bubbles, engaged in a world condensed between calloused fingers and unconcerned with the one stretched out in front of us. We have the ability to leave them whenever we so choose, but so often the comfort of our walls keeps us inside. I don’t think jazz vocalist and social worker Jacque Washington ever lived in her bubble. If anything it was more like an accessory, walking right beside her, just in case she wanted to step inside. The bubble makes you numb, and someone as alive and vibrant as Jacque wouldn’t be able to survive in there. Feeling connected and engaged, the things that many of us tend to shy away from, is what keeps her going. At first, it was the singing that helped her reach other people. The lyrics scattering from her parted lips and finding their way into open ears. It didn’t matter if the words didn’t pertain to their lives, as long as they could understand the emotions behind the music. Nevertheless, when she was performing overseas in China after being discovered by a Japanese agent on Jazz Discovery in 1999, she realized something: once the music stops and people go home, eventually the words leave them too. WOUNY.COM • JULY/ AUGUST 2016


“I think I have a gift of compassion” That connection established in that space of time would fade. The point of making connections is for them to last beyond the initial meeting, for some part of it to linger. She wanted something deeper than just a moment. But how do you find something if you don’t know what you’re looking for? So after her tour around Japan and China, Washington came back home to Syracuse where she continued to sing and act in the area while also working at a furniture store. Her job was to sell comfort to strangers, but only until she could figure out her second act. “One day, when I was there, a person came up from Ithaca to buy some furniture, and I was telling him that I wanted to help people, so he suggested that I become a social worker because with that degree, I could do a lot of things,” said Washington. For some reason, that just stuck with her. So, she looked further into it and eventually decided to go to Syracuse University to earn her master’s degree in social work. Seven years later, she’s working at Tompkins County Mental Health in addition to owning her own practice called Renewing Your Mind Counseling and Psychological Services. Washington says the most rewarding part of therapy is watching the light bulb go off for her clients. To see them get excited about changing the way they think or behave, but also know she is worthy of their trust. Clients are willing, sometimes quickly and sometimes gradually, to step outside of their bubbles and unfold in front of her. “It’s such an honor that people will trust me with the things that they come in with. These are real people with real problems, and they really want help,” said Washington. “That’s such a big honor to me—I don’t take that lightly at all. I would have to say that’s more important to me, and I think that’s why I left doing full time performing.” Now, let’s be honest here. We all need some therapy even if you consider yourself the most sane and happy person. Even so, finding a good therapist, someone who won’t just sit there and say Mhmm as they mind-



lessly scribble on paper, can be a long and difficult journey. Before anyone can open up to someone, they have to be comfortable with that person, their process and feel as though their words are being absorbed and not just heard. In her humility, Washington refused to say she’s a good therapist, instead she used the word effective because she feels she will try her best to be what her clients need. However, she does admit she’s not for everyone. “I’m very direct. If you want help, if you want to be somewhere in six months or a year, I’m the person to come to because I’m going to help you do that. I’m going to hold you accountable and help you move outside of your comfort zone,” said Washington. So much of her clients’ success depends on the work, they’re willing to put in, but it also depends on Washington and how she can get them to see themselves as agents of change and her as their helper. Unlike her performing, there’s no agenda when it comes to providing therapy for her clients. It’s all about them, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t gain just as much from their sessions together. Through her service to others, Washington says she has become more aware of herself and has become a better overall version of herself. Not everyone will admit it, but most people like to think they were put on this earth for a particular reason. Being a Christian and a believer, Washington feels it is her purpose to help people, to reach them in some way. “I think I have the gift of compassion. That’s just who I am ever since I was little. I always say to people, We were social workers before we got our degrees because social workers, for the most part, are very compassionate, caring people who want to help set healthy boundaries,” said Washington. The best way she can do that is through her own connection to God and listening to his

instructions. There is no point of her being with and listening to her clients if she can’t help them. That’s why she always looks to God, so he can help her be what a client needs in that moment. Her clients, that’s what comes first. But there weren’t always clients and there wasn’t always social work, there was music. And though her life is more centered on the former, music and performing will never leave her. Washington’s love for music was always there, even before she fully understood it. She grew up in York, Pennsylvania where singing with her church choir was a very important part of her youth. When she wasn’t performing with that group, she was putting on talent shows with her sister for her parents or performing with girls from school. Washington was always surrounded by music; she credits that partly to her dad, who constantly played music throughout the house. Jazz was Washington’s go to genre growing up, mainly the sounds of Dave Brubeck. As she got older, her taste started to evolve and artists like Chaka khan, Nina Simone, Nancy Wilson, and Al Jarreau caught her attention. Her passion for music led

her to California to pursue a performing career, but she soon found herself moving to Syracuse to be closer to family. Here Washington and her [then] husband grew their family and both worked full time to support them. She started singing in Jazz clubs and performing in community theatre, eventually finding her way to SU for a bachelor’s degree in musical theatre—but not before attending Onondaga Community College for Radio and Television. When listening to Washington’s gentle yet commanding voice, that forces you to ease your eyes shut and take in the sound, it was easy to tell Washington had talent. It made it difficult to imagine her having such a difficult time finding roles while attending Syracuse. “There were no parts for me, as an African-American female, in the theatre department. When there was, it was the role of a gravedigger in a Shakespeare production,” explained Washington. “While in school, I encouraged African-American females to talk with their parents about the lack of roles available for them, in spite of the fact that they were paying to hone their crafts just like the other students.” Since roles were not being created for her, Washington took it upon herself to make her own. She developed one woman-shows for local theatre organizations and relied solely on herself for their production, marketing and promotion. A true one-woman show.

As a black woman in a predominately white area, Washington quickly discovered that she would have to be her own support system because the outside world was prepared to brush her aside with a little thought. It’s a reality many people of color had to face and sadly still face today, but she mentally prepared herself for the boundaries that race, and gender would create for her. That’s why Washington stresses the importance of self-confidence, because there will always be someone trying to tell you who you’re “supposed” to be. “The whole aspect of one’s existence has to be strong because there’s so much outside of the confines of a person’s home. I’ve come across a lot of racism. Some very blatant and some not, but it was there nonetheless. And I don’t look for it,” said Washington. “It’s important to have a positive, grounded, healthy, self-concept. Know what your value is so. No one else can tell you what it is.” Instead of allowing other people’s perception of her to seep into her own view of herself, Washington continued about her business and opened opportunities for herself. From that, resolve came the concept for two of her most noticeable shows in which she depicted the late Billie Holiday, Billie’s Diary and Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill. These performances were made possible under Actor’s Equity Association contracts. Lady Day was the first production in which she took on Billie Holiday and after study

ing her, Washington fell in love with her, from the way she spoke to the way she moved. By the time she had done two of those shows she knew she wasn’t ready to let Billie go. “So I decided to do my own [production] and call it Billie’s Diary because I believe that when people write in their journals they write what’s real to them, what’s true to them and there’s no pretense,” said Washington. Since then Washington has wanted to do a one-woman show on Mahalia Jackson and Ella Fitzgerald, but there never seems to be enough time to dedicate to these projects. That doesn’t mean they’re not always on her mind, much like finishing her CD Passions Trilogy which she started in 1996. With the first two installments completed, World of Passion and Jazz Passions (2000), Washington is still figuring out what the last CD should sound like. For almost an hour, within the security of my own space—the personal bubble in which I myself retreat to everyday—Jacque Tara Washington and I walked through what seemed like a lifetime of music and service and passion. As we travelled through each act of her journey, I could feel myself stretching through the walls of my bubble until I was fully outside of myself, sharing in this space of time with her. She wasn’t my therapist and I wasn’t her client, but our talk had managed to feel therapeutic and leave me inspired. In that moment, I could understand why she thought she was meant to reach people. It only took an hour for her to reach me. WOUNY.COM • JULY/ AUGUST 2016



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DeClutter and Organize Your Photos and Family Memories


By Deb Cabral, Certified Professional Organizer, The DeClutter Coach

hotos, Photos everywhere! Almost every family we work with has boxes of photos, old Super 8 movies (remember the ones with no sound!), slides and VHS tapes under beds, in the attic or in the basement. The sad thing is that with our busy lives, we just don’t take the time to open the boxes and enjoy our family memories. As a Certified Photo Organizer and a member of APPO (The Association of Personal Photo Organizers) we are ready to help you with the photo and memory clutter in your life. Here are some tips to get you started if you’re up for tackling it on your own. Organizing your photos and family memories is as easy as learning your ABC’s! So here are the ABC’s of Photo Organizing as created by APPO. A is for album. When going through photos, choose to keep only those photos that are good enough to be displayed or put in a photo album, whether it be a digital album or a photo album that is on your book shelf. B is for Box or Backup. Get your photos out of the boxes under your bed or in your attic and get them back into you life by organizing and digitizing them. If they are already digitized and are stored on your computer hard drive, be sure to back them up so you do not lose them if your computer crashes! We recommend Forever.com. Forever is the world’s first permanent on-line photo storage and sharing service. C is for Can. YES you can throw away those photos that are blurry, have that dreaded red eye that can’t be fixed or you can’t remember the people who are in then. You CAN also throw away all those extra set of photos you have

(remember the free double prints companies offered?). These double photos are clutter! The S stands for Story. Your photos, slides and movies should tell a story- your family’s story. The best way to organize your photos is how we live our lives- in themes! Instead of getting caught up with trying to organize your memories chronologically, which can become overwhelming, it’s easier and quicker to do so in themes. Some examples of themes we create with our clients are school, family vacations, holidays, sports and religious events (such as baptisms and weddings). For digitizing your family photos, documents and videos, as we mentioned earlier, we recommend Forever.com for a variety of very important reasons including: -You retain ownership rights of your pho tos (unlike most free services) -No data mining -No advertising on the site -No selling of personal data -Easy to understand privacy policy and privacy settings -The site has bank level security so your photos and documents are safe. -It mobile and sharable.

For more information about Forever and their excellent products and services visit DeClutterCoachDeb.com and select Services, then Photo Organizing. Life is too short! Take the time now to organize your family memories so they can be enjoyed now and preserved for generations to come. The DeClutter Coach is a residential organizing company that focuses on motivating people to make positive changes in their lives by taking control of their space and time. We work with individuals and families to cut the clutter and break the cycle of disorganization. We create new systems and teach effective skills so our clients can get and stay organized. Our goal is to return peace and harmony to each client’s home and life. www. decluttercoachdeb.com. Visit our corporate consulting, training and coaching division, DC Efficiency Consulting at www. dceffconsult.com. And watch our national television show Organization Motivation! www.organizationmotivation.com and our nationally syndicated news segments Organized in 60 Seconds www.organizedin60seconds.com.






istening to women, whether in Upstate New York or elsewhere, I hear the trials and tribulations of dieting, restriction and shaming. After reading a New York Times piece called “Running for the Wrong Reasons” by Jen A. Miller, I realized many women seem to be “at war” with their bodies. They are running miles, training until they puke and banning carbohydrates all in an effort to shrink their bodies. There are those who ban all sugars and carbs. Then, end up gorging on the dreaded enemy. Guilt and failure rear their ugly heads. What is it all for? How can you break the cycle? In order to break the cycle you may have to go back to the first battle. Was it your father’s remark or a comment from a classmate in middle school? Women have been fighting some of these battles their whole lives. You can’t lose it until you love it! First, trust your body. This amazing human form is the perfect home for your incredible brain and heart. Your body deserves respect, not scorn. Don’t exercise as a punishment, do it for love. Once you start treating your body better, it will treat you better. Go to a playground and watch some children for a couple of hours. They run, jump, swing, and play. Not because they need to complete some goal, and not to become thinner. They do it for the joy of it. They aren’t counting miles. They are living in the moment. When you do work out, walk, run and even stand, concentrate on it. Be mindful. Think about your muscles. Be amazed by your gluts, your hamstrings and



By Linda Quinn, MS, RD your abdominals. They grow and meet the demand. Respect that. Eat to fuel your body, not punish it. It may surprise you to know that the fuel of muscles is actually carbohydrates. The human body stores very little so if you don’t have enough each day, you will use fat and protein from the body to meet the demand. Fat and protein need to be broken down to form sugar to fuel the muscles. Although this sounds like what you want, burning off hard-earned muscle protein is not your goal. You didn’t work out for hours in the gym simply to tear it all down. Again, look at children. They eat, then go. They eat, then grow. That’s what you want. Food is your friend, not your enemy. Fuel the work and you won’t lay down the fat. There is research that shows a small amount of exercise before breakfast is a fat burner. However, if you are going for an intense workout, you need to fuel up. An age-old nutrition science adage is “Fat burns in a flame of carbohydrate.” In order to burn fat you need lipolysis, to achieve lipolysis you need your cells to cooperate. Carbohydrates work at the cellular level to ignite your engine and create the burn. So eat wisely and create the perfect furnace. Fuel the muscles, so they will do the work you need done. Not only will you become more muscular. You will burn fat at the same time. It’s a win-win. The perfect breakfast is always up for de

bate. First, you want a good fiber source. That will rid the body of waste. This creates better movement throughout the day with less bloating and discomfort. Secondly, you want a mix of macronutrients: High-qual ity carbohydrates, protein and fat. In order for the macronutrients to work effectively you need micronutrients. Think plant foods: fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Many people say they can’t eat breakfast. In fact, some research even shows that people can be perfectly healthy without it. However, if you are exercising, an empty stomach leaves you and your body at a disadvantage. You can’t drive a car without gas, and you can’t run a body without food. Throughout the rest of the day, you need to eat. I constantly dine with people who exclaim, “I am starving. I haven’t eaten all day.” This is a mistake. This is not the way to weight loss and research shows. It is actually “the fat way to eat.” Nevertheless, research aside, this tells me that you don’t care enough about yourself to feed yourself. You would not do this to your child, your husband or your dog. Don’t neglect yourself ? If you want to feel better, start treating your body better today. You will see an amazing change. You will look and feel better. Whether you lose weight or not are really not the point. Accepting yourself has an amazing way of changing everything. Once you make peace with your beautiful and amazing body, all things are possible.

Linda Quinn is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and is Island Girl Living. Contact her at islandgirllivingllc@


Thinking About Making A Business Move? If your business is on the Move?

Read Why You Should Hire A Commercial Real Estate Broker? Joe Scripa shares the ins and outs of Commercial Real Estate.


n today’s economy, business managers, CEOs, and owners are searching for the best value in commercial real estate. In order to do this, you should utilize a qualified and experienced professional. Here are just a few reasons to seek out a commercial real estate broker to Represent Your Interests before you sign your name on the dotted line. •Experience: the world of commercial real estate can be difficult to navigate. When negotiating complex leasing or purchase terms, you need the benefit of someone who has handled transactions from beginning to end in order to achieve the best outcome for your particular real estate transaction. •Loyalty – The property owner or owner’s agent/broker may agree to show you properties other than the ones that they have listed. However, they may make half as much money if you do not buy or lease one of their listings. Therefore, they have a powerful incentive to steer and influence you to their properties. We highly recommend that you hire a commercial real estate broker to represent your interests when looking to lease or buy. 9 times out of 10 the owner will compensate your broker directly to save you from the additional expense. Additionally when you hire a broker/agent to represent you; they are bound by license law to protect your interests to the best of their ability. •Industry Knowledge: the commercial real estate industry isn’t as forthcoming with their information as the residential real estate, commercial transactions tend to be

more complex. You may think magazine articles or Google or commercial property search tools will arm you with the knowledge needed to complete a successful transaction, but a commercial real estate broker navigates this landscape every day and will be able to share valuable “tips of the trade” you wouldn’t get anywhere else. •Time Management: It’s no secret business managers; owners and CEOs are busy – in fact. The latest studies show they work over 60 hours a week managing the day-to-day operations of their business. By working with a commercial real estate broker, owners can focus on their business while getting all the benefits and guidance a real estate professional can provide. •Negotiations: the art of negotiating commercial real estate is perfected over years and years of transactions. Many business owners think because they negotiated a great price on their latest car, they can take on the burden of negotiating their commercial real estate transition. Nothing could be further from the truth. Too often we review past leases or sale terms that just were not favorable to the go it alone tenant or buyer. •Deal Structure: Very much related negotiations is Deal Structure. Proper structuring can save a client thousands of dollars. For example, compounding “Base

Joseph Scripa •Integrated Services: An experienced broker will be able to provide their client with integrated internal or external consultants. Finding qualified service providers is always difficult, but a commercial broker can provide the best recommendations for I.T., legal, accounting and marketing services. Alone, this is a time-consuming and costly process. •Cost Savings: The most common reason business owners don’t use a commercial real estate broker is to save the cost of commission. What you might not realize is most commercial property owners expect to compensate the broker or agent who brings the deal forward as part of the cost of operating the property or selling it. Thus, no real savings are passed to on to you for going with it alone. More important aspects to consider are the cost savings that are achieved through utilizing an experienced commercial real estate broker. And remember, not all real estate brokers are created equal. Make sure you find one that does more than find you a location and negotiate the basic economic terms of your deal. The Scripa Group is ready to interview for the job of helping you make your next move call us today at 315-452-1200

Year” costs over a five-year term can be either costly or huge savings – dependent upon the negotiated structure of the lease. Confused? Well then, you need a Commercial Real Estate Broker.



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istracted drivers. We have all seen them and have done it at one time or another. We see commercials that show the effects of it, but probably figure it would never happen to us. Unfortunately, it can.

In a world with technology changing everyday, phones have many apps that we are all attracted to. Whether we are snap chatting, taking selfies, checking test message or checking our Facebook while driving your car, it is not the time to do it. In addition, with many of the newer phones, there is the ability to tie your phone into your car. We may think that will cause a change, but it does not. Here are a few things to consider; someone calls you with disturbing news, maybe you are upset or have lost your temper. In that moment are you really focusing on the road, Probably not! Have you ever hit a deer because it jumped out in front of your car? There was nothing you could do because it came out of nowhere. Now, apply that to the situation of just receiving the disturbing news! You are upset and in a blink of an eye a car, person or animal could come out of nowhere and then no time to break. The result could be deadly. Distracted driving is nothing new; it has just become a bigger problem. Here are some other examples; The Text Message, Facebook or Call You are on the road and suddenly your phone goes off, there is a lot of traffic around you and you forgot your bluetooth, or maybe your getting a text message, what do you do? Many of us will check the phone because it is what we do, not thinking that it is a distraction, but it is. Then, as you look down to read your message when suddenly a car jumps out in front of you. There is no time to stop and you have just crashed into the back of their car. The front end of your car is crushed and the back end of the other vehicle is also damaged. Are you hurt? Better yet are they hurt?

The Morning Makeup/Shave. Have you ever been in front of someone who is driving down the road and applying makeup in their rear-view mirror? You can see that they are not paying attention to what they are doing and your first instinct is to get as far away from that person as possible. That is the perfect setting to be rear-ended. Now, what about the man next to you with his portable shaver? He is at the light shaving and does not see that the light has changed to green, holding up traffic. The Unruly Children. The kids are packed into the car, and they are picking on each other, trying to undo their seatbelts, telling you they are hungry and so on. You look in your mirrors answering their questions, telling them to not to do this or that. Kids are kids, but now your attention is on them and not on driving. These are just some of the things that cause distractions, including eating while driving, dropping or looking for something. We live in a hurry up society so when it comes to getting from point A to point B, there are distractions some of which will eventually lead to an accident. When that happens, it is too late. GEICO insurance cares about people, and it is important to every employee to help people and one way is through education. Coming soon to the Local Syracuse GEICO office is virtual simulation, where you can see what happens when you are in a distracted driving situation. This is perfect for everyone who drives and is something everyone should experience. If we can educate our drivers, safety will prevail. If you would like more information contact, Lori Myers at 315-479-2886 or stop by the office at 2735 Erie Blvd. East in Syracuse.



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o you hear that? That sound in the distance? It is the great outdoors, calling you to come out and explore.

Of course, it can be challenging if you don’t have the proper equipment. Tents can make or break an outing. If you’re driving to a camping site and staying there, a heavier tent is feasible. REI has a variety of top-rated tents, including the REI Kingdom 8. It fits tall people, and can easily sleep a family. Marmot and Kodiak also have top-rated tents. If you’re going to be backpacking, a lighter, smaller tent is going to be a better choice. The Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 is roomy enough that you and your travelling companion won’t be squished, but still compresses down to a lightweight pack. It fits two people and weighs under three pounds, perfect for backpacking. Kelty is another great tent brand in general, and has a lifetime warranty on most of their tents. For those who prefer sleeping under the stars, hammocks are an option. Eagle Nest Outfitters makes high-quality hammocks that fold into a tiny bag. The Velcro-and-carabiner combination makes setting up an ENO hammock a breeze. A sleeping pad is very important. Camp Solutions makes one for $30, which you can find on Amazon. These also are great



for sleeping in tents, as an extra layer often makes a huge difference in the quality of sleep. A comfortable night’s rest requires a quality sleeping bag. For cold weather, the Wenzel Grande is a great choice. It’s a toasty, relatively affordable and light sleeping bag. For summer camping, the Marmot Mavericks 30 sleeping bag is what you want. It is lightweight and has a soft lining, great for those warm nights. Other camping items to include on your trip are dry shampoo, biodegradable wipes, toilet paper (which can be put in a coffee can to keep it dry), safe-for-the-environment soap, and as much sunscreen as you can carry. If you’re going where there is no electricity, you may need a power source. Goal Zero offers a huge variety of solar-powered electronics. PowerGen is another great charger that can last up to five days. If you plan on hiking this summer, whether a day or overnight trip, some things will come in handy. Backpacks are a central point of hiking. For shorter trips, the CamelBak Rim Runner 22 is perfect. It is a compact backpack that has a bladder that a filter can be attached to. When shopping for a hiking backpack,

here are a few things to remember: it should strap across your hips and chest, to take the stress off your shoulders, be light, have easy-to-reach, deep pockets on the side; and above all should be comfortable. Longer trips require larger packs. Osprey offers some of the best hiking backpacks around, and has information on how to choose the best bag for you. Hiking trips should also include sunscreen, bandanas, a first aid kit, bug and tick repellent, a water filtration device, extra wool socks, a flannel or rain jacket, hearty snacks, and a GPS or map. To avoid chafing or cold clothes, wear a base layer of a sweat-wicking material. The lack of dampness could save your life. Boots are the most important part of any trip. You will need ones with good ankle support to prevent injuries. Make sure they are not too heavy, and are made of a durable material. Also know what sort of activity you will be using them for. Having a waterproof, stiff boot can be a footsaver when hiking. They should fit snuggly, with enough room to wiggle your toes. Try them on in the evening when your feet are most swollen, and with the socks you will be using. Summer is the perfect time to see more of the world. Provided you have the right equipment, being out in nature can be the most rewarding vacation ever!

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Making Dreams Come True Syracuse Challenger Baseball F

or Jennifer Savastino and her family, the love for America’s favorite past time began long ago. The Syracuse Challenger baseball league was a place where her step son Daniel could enjoy the game along with the rest of the family. Daniel, now 22, has autism and traditional Little League was just not the right “fit” for him as a youth. He began playing in the Challenger league when he was 10 years old. Syracuse Challenger Baseball is the largest special needs’ league in the United States. Based here in Central New York, they have over 18 teams and 280 players with physical handicaps and developmental delays. There is a division for all ages, and its participants range from 4- 60 years old. As Jennifer shares, “Challenger Baseball allowed us to spend time with people that got it. There is a level of understanding and comfort for families and siblings, that is amazing. Nobody is looking at you if your child has issues or a meltdown; you can just let them be themselves.” Vice President of Gannon Pest Control by day, Jennifer became a volunteer with the organization because of the great experience for her family. She is currently one of four directors of this highly regarded, and growing program. Other directors include, Dom Cambareri, Dee Perkins and Sonya Miller. Jennifer enjoys working with this productive team. She oversees the adult player division and leads the fundraising charge. The League is a free program for all members. Each player is given a jersey and hat with community sponsors supporting each team. Equipment is either purchased by the league or donated. Baseball games are played twice a week for eight weeks commencing with a celebratory banquet at the end of the sea-



By: Christine Vickers

son where each child is awarded a trophy. Jennifer says “Running the league really is a group effort; we have a lot of parents who help and others who volunteer because they have just fallen in love with our kids,” Again, she stresses the importance of what this league means to the families of the players. “You are rooting for them to hit the ball because they may have never done that before. “ Some accommodations include a beeper ball for hearing-impaired players so that when they hear the beep, they swing. “It’s incredible to watch,” says Jennifer. A great game to attend, or as Jennifer calls it “the best night of the year,” occurs at the end of July. “We play our final game of the season at NBT Stadium, and the Chiefs have always been a huge supporter of our program. It’s very expensive for them to open the stadium, but they don’t charge us anything. Our kid’s names go up on the score board, and they have an announcer. Chiefs General Manager Jason Smoral and his team have been wonderful to work with. Jason gets right out there with our players on the field,” Jennifer says. The Syracuse Crunch has also helped the League with fundraisers and with their exciting new Carrier Park Field of Dreams project. Traditionally, Syracuse Challenger Baseball did not have a home. Jennifer shares, “We had to wait until Little League was over to use their fields, and we would then be playing in July and August. This was difficult because a lot of our kids would have medical issues that made playing in the heat of the summer a problem. “About 5 years ago this organization received the opportunity of a lifetime. Carrier Corporation was donating 24 acres to the

town of Dewitt. The only stipulation was the land was to be used for health and wellness involving children. Collaboration between the DeWitt Town Supervisor Edward Michalenko and Program Director Dom Cambareri led to the Carrier Park Field of Dreams Project. The building of this complex which is located at 600 Roby Avenue in East Syracuse is under way with the completion of Phase one, which includes two tournament level fields. Phase two of the project will feature a large turf “superfield” which cannot only be used for baseball but lined for soccer and lacrosse. It will be fully handicapped accessible and will also include ten professional-quality little league diamonds, courts for basketball, volleyball and tennis, a playground and other features. Jennifer shares, “It is not just for our kids; it will be a complex for all of Central New York. As a special need’s parent, it is particularly gratifying to me that we are not only building a park that will meet the needs of our special community but that it will also be self-sustaining.” “Because the park is located near Carrier Circle and the NYS Thruway Little Leagues from across the state are interested in using the park for tournaments and travel teams. Thus bringing with them revenue for the area as they will need places to stay and dining options. “It is neat to be a part of what this Park will do for not only our Challenger league but for Central New York,” Jennifer shares. The Project has been funded through fundraising efforts of the Friends of the Town of Dewitt Parks and Recreation. Several community leaders and organizations have also been instrumental. Senator John DeFrancisco has been a huge sup-

Jennifer Savastino with Senator John DeFrancisco porter of the project since its inception. Since the ground breaking in 2013, he has obtained $200,000 in funding from the New York State Senate. Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney has also been an active supporter, awarding multiple grants for the playground and parking lot. Additionally, the Jim & Juli Boeheim foundation has contributed approximately $100,000 in funding. Jennifer notes,” We need another 6 million to finish the project but our commitment is there, even if it takes us another year or another five years. “ Working in her family-owned business has given Jennifer the freedom to contribute to her community. “My family is from here, and we are raising our children here. Central New York means a lot to us. I’m grateful to be able to give back to the community that has given us so much as a company. When I hear people complain about this area, I always tell them, find something you are passionate about that will make the community better and … just do it!” A dream of Jennifer Savastino and the team at Syracuse Challenger Baseball is well on its way to becoming reality. It’s guaranteed that once they build it, people will come.

Upper Right Photo: Jennifer with Stepsons, Colin O’Connor, Daniel O’Connor and Josh O’Connor From left to right: Deputy Directors: Dee Perkins, Sonya Miller, Jennifer Savastino and Program Director for Syracuse Challenge Baseball, Dom Cambareri

Josh O’Connor left, Jennifer, and Daniel O’Connor

For more information on Syracuse Challenger Baseball and the Carrier Park Field of Dreams Connect on Facebook and at www.syracusechallengerbaseball. com www.challengerfieldofdreams.org WOUNY.COM • JULY/ AUGUST 2016



t is vacation time and many of us head south to Disney World. The children have been waiting all year, promising good grades to enter through the mighty gates of the Disney. It is exciting for the whole family, so you pack your bags anticipating the many things Disney has to offer. Once you get to the park you find immense long lines every attraction. The kids start getting restless and hungry with frustration. Did you know that on average over 53,000 people visit on a daily basis? The idea of a vacation is to relax and have fun. So why not consider a FastPass? This system allow you to cruise through Disney World and avoid the lines. We reached out to Jeffrey Merola who has written over seven Walt Disney World books, is an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, Travel Agent, has been on Walt Disney World property for over 220 day, and owner of Mouse Vacation Planning. He shares with us tips for the perfect Disney Vacation: Top FastPass+ Tips in Walt Disney World The FastPass+ system in Walt Disney World is innovative and technologically advanced. Families that are staying in a Walt Disney World Resort can sign up for FastPass+ 60 days before their vacation by selecting 3 FastPass+ attractions per day at the website mydisneyexperience.com. These selections are magically saved to a MagicBand. If a family is staying outside of Walt Disney World they can make 3 FastPass+ selections per day 30 days before their vacation.



Tip #1 = Do make FastPass+ selections 60 days in advance Always make 3 FastPass+ selections per day 60 days in advance at mydisneyexperience. com. This can begin to be done as early as 7am. All FastPass+ times could be gone for certain attractions 59 days before a vacation. For example, FastPass+ times for the meet and greet at Princess Fairytale Hall with Anna and Elsa will be gone about 59 days in advance. There will be no more FastPass+ times available for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train about 50 days in advance.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios contains some breath taking attractions that are extremely popular. The most popular thrill rides with long wait times are the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, a family favorite, and the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith. Toy Story Midway Mania will have a wait time that will get to well over an hour very early in the day. In Disney’s Animal Kingdom there are three spectacular attractions that will require a FastPass+ because of their popularity. They are: Expedition Everest, Dinosaur, and Kilimanjaro Safaris.

Tip #2 – See Illuminations or Wishes without a FastPass+ It would be a waste to use a FastPass+ for Illuminations or Wishes. This is not to say that these nighttime attractions are not worth seeing. Quite the contrary. Illuminations can be seen without a FastPass+ in numerous locations throughout World Showcase in Epcot. Wishes can be experienced in many areas throughout the Magic Kingdom without a FastPass+.

Tip #4 – Your 3rd FastPass+ should end by early in the afternoon When signing up for the initial 3 FastPass+ attractions per day make sure the 3rd selection ends by late morning or early afternoon at the latest. Why is that so important? A 4th FastPass+ selection can then be made through the mydisneyexperience app on a smartphone. Obtaining a 5th or a 6th is even possible. A 7th? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves! On the contrary, if a 3rd FastPass+ ended at about 6pm, then the FastPass+ selections for the day could be gone.

Tip #3 – Make FastPass+ selections for attractions with traditionally long waits Some may already be asking, “Well what attractions have traditionally long wait times?” In the Magic Kingdom these attractions are: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Space Mountain, and Splash Mountain. Over in Walt Disney’s imagined community of tomorrow, namely Epcot, the attractions with long waits include: Soarin, Test Track, and Spaceship Earth.

For your stress free vacation contact Jeff at (315) 572-0602 to book your trip and receive free vacation planning! He will give you a copy of his book, which includes more than 280 tips to save you time and money, and you will be in direct contact with him before and during your trip! jmerola@mousevactionplanning.com www.mousevacationplanning.com On Facebook at www.facebook.com/mousevacationplanning. WOUNY.COM • JULY/ AUGUST 2016


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