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WCNY-FM offers special radio service for blind and visually impaired

For more than three decades, WCNY-FM has been serving the blind and visually-impaired residents of Central New York with a special radio service called READ-OUT.

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As testing regulations increase, more and more parents choose to homeschool their children

As controversies over Common Core and mandated standardized tests become more and more prevalent, many parents are choosing a new option in educating their children: homeschooling. Once the sole province of the very religious, homeschooling is becoming more popular every day, with a growth rate of 7 to 15 percent per year. Nationwide, about 2 million children learn at home instead of in a brick-and-mortar school, up from about 1 million in 2003. According to the U.S. Department of Education, about 88 percent of U.S. homeschool parents express concern about the school environment, citing drugs, negative peer pressure and general safety.

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Teenage rock band Kill the Lites nominated for Sammy Award

A rock’n’roll group featuring four Fayetteville-Manlius High School students and their lead singer from West Genesee High School have been nominated for a 2014 Syracuse Area Music Award. The band, Kill the Lites, is one of five nominees in the Sammys “pop” category. The awards show is set for 7 p.m. Friday, March 7, at the Palace Theater, in Eastwood.

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Pour it on

Learn the art of maple sugaring

For most people, Valentine’s Day calls for last minute stops to local flower and candy shops. For others, the holiday is a target date for an entirely different purpose, yet still yields sweet results: maple syrup.

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Team Believe raises money for area charities through running

Running a 10-mile race is a tremendous challenge. But if you’ve got the right motivation, those 10 miles can feel like nothing at all. That’s the idea behind Team Believe, a grassroots organization that brings together local runners to help the Central New York community. The group, which got its start in 2009, asks participants to help raise money for local children’s charities while training for the Dunn Tire Mountain Goat Run in Syracuse in May.

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‘Les Mis’ luminescent!

B’ville Theatre Guild stages a sensational version of the classic musical 

Few musicals engage the mind and excite the senses as does “Les Misérables.” Even more rarely does a community theater group expertly blend the epic story, the grand spectacle and the soaring music to deliver a seamless and sensational show. Director Korrie Taylor, music director Abel Searor and producers Mark and Sandy Baker, however, have done just that with the current Baldwinsville Theatre Guild production of “Les Mis,” running through Feb. 8.

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Is ‘Ash for Trash’ the way to go?

Public opinion split on idea to import trash from Cortland County

For 20 years, the waste-to-energy facility on Rock Cut Road in Jamesville has been Onondaga County’s answer to waste management. However, starting in 2015, Cortland County may also have the opportunity to bring its trash to the site through a potential agreement called “Ash for Trash.”

OCM-BOCES to hold referendum on building purchase

On Thursday, Jan. 23, voters in 23 school districts across three counties will be asked to go to the polls to approve a building purchase that will have no impact on their wallets. Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES is looking to purchase the former Nationwide Insurance building, located at 110 Elwood Davis Road in the town of Salina. According to BOCES information officer Laurie Cook, the purchase would allow OCM-BOCES to relocate several programs now housed in leased space.

Kicking off the New Year right

It is that time of year again — time to “set New Year’s resolutions,” “get in shape,” “work on the waist line,” “go on a diet,” “start fresh,” whatever you want to call it, most people feel the need to reevaluate their habits in January after all the holiday hoopla is over. Usually diet and exercise habits rank high on the list of “needs improvement.” On Jan. 1 (or maybe Jan. 2), the “hard core dieters” and the “gung-ho gym members” begin their quest. They sweat, grunt, groan, “give up carbs” and step on the scale every day. A month later, most of them find themselves exhausted, sore, injured, hungry, deprived, miserable and frustrated (maybe even a few other adjectives). They may or may not be in better shape or weigh less. If you plan on trying this approach, please reconsider. If you want long lasting success and really want to feel better emotionally and physically, please try this approach…

Caregivers in crisis: New York ranks 48th in support for family caregivers

The lack of available help from senior care agencies is just one of the reasons New York state was ranked 48th in a 2011 national report by AARP’s Public Policy Institute, the Commonwealth Fund and the SCAN Foundation out of 50 states with regard to support for its family caregivers. Caregivers also face extensive waiting lists for adult day care programs and rehab facilities, a lack of support for in the work environment, limited or no access to transportation and inadequate informational resources regarding care options for their loved ones. And with the Baby Boomer generation moving into their golden years, the problem is only going to get worse.

Liverpool woman conducting drive for Humane Association, CNY SPCA

Helping others around the holidays doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank. It can be as simple as cleaning out your linen closet or picking up some extra pet food. Joelle Litz of Liverpool is conducting a donation drive for the Humane Association of CNY and the CNY SPCA from now until Dec. 22. Both shelters are always in need of supplies (see the sidebar for their wish lists), and Litz said every little bit counts.

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Onondaga Lake’s 1656 Thanksgiving feast

With the arrival of Thanksgiving, the image of the Thanksgiving feast shared by the Plymouth colonists of Massachusetts and their Native American hosts during the winter of 1621 is often at the forefront of the imagination. The spirit of cooperation, mutual understanding and respect demonstrated by that event in the midst of the cultural interface between those two cultures is certainly one worth celebrating. As providence would have it, Onondaga Lake’s history illustrates that the imagination need not wander upon the far distant Massachusetts colony to envision such an event worth celebrating. Such a Thanksgiving feast took place in 1656 on the shore of Onondaga Lake.

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20th edition of Dickens Christmas in Skaneateles opens Nov. 29

When the “World’s Smallest Christmas Parade” kicks off Nov. 29, opening the 20th season of Dickens Christmas in Skaneateles, it will feature three renditions of Charles Dickens.

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Outdoors writer Kelly pens Finger Lakes fishing guide

Marcellus retiree’s book a culmination of a career spent covering fishing

“Fishing the Finger Lakes” isn’t just the title of J. Michael Kelly’s new book, it’s also one of his life-long passions.

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Preposterous probe

 Up-and-coming actress Kitty Doupe shines as a bewitching West Indian maid

Anything can happen in “Any Number Can Die.” Owls hoot, thunder howls, lights flicker and lives are lost due to gunshots, poison, hanging and stabbing. But don’t let that constant violence spoil your evening at the theater. It’s all in good fun, as the stage play soundly satirizes every murder mystery you’ve ever read or seen. The campy comedy by Vermont’s prolific and playful playwright, Fred Carmichael, is being staged through Oct. 13 by the Baldwinsville Theatre Guild.

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