Articles


By Tammy DiDomenico

When it comes to addressing cases of child abuse, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. For Linda Cleary, executive director of the McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center in Syracuse, there is only one constant: People are very uncomfortable talking about it.

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The Syracuse schools’ director of special education discusses the district’s support services

By Tammy DiDomenico

Anyone who thinks of public education as impersonal and excessively bureaucratic probably hasn’t met Amy Evans, director of special education programs for the Syracuse City School District. With 22 years of education experience, and an amiable, steady demeanor, she approaches her role serving the city’s special education students as if she were born to do it.

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Celebrating the Jewish High Holidays

By Renée K. Gadoua

Michael Davis photos

Rabbi Daniel Fellman once asked his son this question on Yom Kippur, the  
holiest day of the Jewish calendar: “Were you the best boy you could be this year?” His son responded: “Sometimes.”

 

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Principal at Dr. Weeks Elementary is ‘all in’

By Tammy DiDomenico

Michael Davis Photos

When Carin Reeve-Larham accepted the job as principal at Dr. Weeks Elementary School in Syracuse, it wasn’t just a challenging career move. It was personal.

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A pediatric trauma nurse shows how families can prevent accidents.

By Tammy DiDomenico

Cathleen Caltabiano sees the world differently from most parents.

“You know that movie where Haley Joel Osment says, ‘I see dead people’?” she says during a break from her duties as a nurse practitioner at Upstate Medical University’s Pediatric Surgery Clinic. “Well, I see trauma.”

 

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Samar Moseley and Tyrone Jackson are 1306

By Tammy DiDomenico

Hip-hop music doesn’t typically call to mind the description “kid friendly.” But Syracuse musicians Samar Moseley and Tyrone Jackson have found inspiration in their day gig as bus drivers for the Syracuse City School District. While other rappers may boast about street violence or ill-gotten riches, this duo—known as 1306—applies catchy beats to cautionary raps on bus safety and working toward graduation.

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Hemangiomas are a hiccup, not a hazard

By Tammy DiDomenico

When Sarah Schiffer gave birth to her son, Danny, six years ago, there was nothing amiss. A healthy, bright-eyed boy, Danny joined big sister Emily (now 7) and Sarah and her husband, Don, in the busy Schiffer home in Camillus. A few weeks later, Sarah noticed a strawberry-colored patch of skin forming on the right side of Danny’s face.

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Rob Zettler coaches the Syracuse Crunch AHL team

By Tammy Di Domenico

Michael Davis Photography

 

The cold and snow of Central New York are of little concern to Rob Zettler. After all, Zettler, coach of the Syracuse Crunch hockey team, hails from Sept-Îles, Quebec, and has had skates on his feet for most of his 45 years.

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Central New York doctor treats the infertility of thousands

By Tammy DiDomenico

Robert Kiltz figures he has assisted in the conception of approximately 10,000 babies over the past 20 years. Some of those children and their parents gather at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse every summer for a reunion of sorts.

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Librarian Erin Butler reads, recommends and writes stories

By Tammy DiDomenico

Erin Butler has always had an appreciation for good stories—especially those with a twist of spooky.

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Group helps parents learn about sensory processing disorder

By Tammy DiDomenico

When people look at Caryn Daher’s “going on 7-year-old” son, Jonathan, he seems much like any other little boy his age. They don’t realize that it sometimes takes a lot of effort for Jonathan to complete everyday tasks because he has a condition known as sensory processing disorder, or SPD.

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A professor fights to make school libraries a priority

By Tammy DiDomenico

R. David Lankes, professor at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies, is spreading the word: We need to let go of outdated images of libraries and explore what they could be, what they should be. Perhaps the title of his latest book says it best: Expect More: Demanding Better Libraries for Today’s Complex World.

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A nurse helps treat postpartum depression

By Tammy DiDomenico

The stigma surrounding postpartum depression (PPD) still prevents many mothers from receiving treatment and recovering from the disorder, says Christine Kowaleski.

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Make-a-Wish chief creates hope in hard times

By Tammy DiDomenico

Diane Kuppermann has been making wishes come true for the past 20 years. As president and chief operating officer of the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Central New York, she has had a role in putting more than 1,200 children with serious health conditions in touch with the furthest reaches of their imaginations.

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Nicole Miller teaches the signs of the times

By Tammy DiDomenico

For Nicole Miller, sign language is far more than a convenience or a novelty. For a time, it was an important part of daily life. A genetic condition gradually compromised her hearing ability, causing her to ultimately leave a career in higher education. Although surgery has since restored much of her hearing, she continues to use sign language to communicate with her twins, 3-year-olds Ashton and Jordyn. About a year ago, she decided to start sharing this skill with other families. She now offers Signing Times courses through Crouse Hospital in Syracuse and at the Fayetteville Free Library.

 

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Kathleen Miller Murphy teaches about the surgical birth option

By Tammy DiDomenico

Families these days have many options to assist them in making the childbirth experience as personal as possible. Kathleen Miller Murphy, coordinator of the First Steps Education Program at Crouse Hospital in Syracuse, has made it her professional mission to make sure Crouse offers patients a variety of educational options, no matter what kind of birth they envision.

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Performer Vanessa Johnson gets the words out any way she can

By Tammy DiDomenico

Anything you can do Vanessa Johnson can probably do better. Spend a little time with her and you quickly learn that her resume is as diverse as it is long, packed with projects that are inspired by her passions and offer inspiration to others.

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Author Laurie Halse Anderson heads back to the woods

By Tammy DiDomenico

Laurie Halse Anderson’s has written all kinds of books  for kids. She has published everything from fun, clever picture books (1998’s Turkey Pox) to intense, young adult novels such as Speak (1999), a look at the emotional aftermath of date rape.

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Dr. Maritza Alvarado directs Syracuse schools’ medical services

By Tammy DiDomenico

Educators know that there is a connection between children’s health and their ability to do well at school. With the hiring of Dr. Maritza Alvarado as director of medical services last fall, the Syracuse City School District has made a strong commitment to balancing these factors in its 36 schools—no small task.


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Carroll Grant helps untangle developmental disorders

By Tammy DiDomencio

For a parent, there is perhaps nothing worse than the feeling that something just isn’t right with your child. When the problem is a developmental disability, it can be especially tough to diagnose and treat.

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CNY’s Dr. Richard Waldman gains a voice in the nation’s largest ob-gyn group

By Tammy DiDomenico

Dr. Richard Waldman isn’t one to romanticize his reasons for becoming a doctor. “My mother gave me three choices: I could be a doctor, a lawyer or a dentist,” he explains. “I had two older brothers, one was an endodontist and the other was a surgeon.”

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Apples are the core of family life at Beak and Skiff

By Tammy DiDomenico

Each autumn, thousands of Central New York families take the scenic drive on Route 20 to LaFayette. Their destination? Beak and Skiff Apple Farms, one of the area’s most enduring family-owned businesses.

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Education advocate strives to gives Syracuse parents a voice

By Tammy DiDomenico

Michele Abdul Sabur got involved in education advocacy as a volunteer 12 years ago to make sure her own voice—and those of her children—would be heard. Now Sabur is a facilitator of the Parent Partner Network, an organization that seeks to improve achievement for all students. The network is integral to the Syracuse City School District’s efforts to connect with parents.

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Fiddler mixes a music career and family

By Tammy DiDomenico

Anyone who follows the local music scene has probably heard Davoli’s fiddle, augmenting the traditional sounds of Delaney Brothers Bluegrass, anchoring a partnership with guitarist Harvey Nusbaum or lending Celtic styling to the Irish rock of Ceili Rain. The winner of two Syracuse New Times Syracuse Area Music Awards (Sammys), Davoli also teaches violin and mandolin at his home studio in Syracuse, and cherishes his family time with wife Darbie and their three children: Nicholas, 19, and twins Joseph III and Olivia, 10.

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By Tammy DiDomenico

League of Women Voters adapts its family-focused agenda to the information age

The League of Women Voters (LWV), an organization founded in 1920 to call attention to issues pertinent to women, children and families, may not have obvious appeal to the 25-and-younger crowd. But members of the Syracuse Metro chapter of the LWV took their nonpartisan agenda, which includes educating the greater community on policy issues and political choice, to the Syracuse University campus last month as part of a program to educate new voters.

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Dan O’Hara aims for a State Fair that welcomes young and old

By Tammy DiDomenico

For Dan O’Hara, it’s difficult to remember a time when the New York State Fair wasn’t an important part of his life. He has fond memories of playing the games of chance as a child, working there as a teenager, and enjoying some behind-the-scenes access when his brother Joe held the reins as director in the mid-1980s.

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Barbara and Everett Wood have cared for foster children since 1977

By Tammy DiDomenico

There’s a reason a certain unassuming white house in LaFayette feels like home: It has been home for Barbara and Everett Wood for more than three decades now, along with their 141 children.

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The Jewish Community Center's Lori Innella-Venne aims to met families' needs

By Tammy DiDomenico

It’s a wintry Central New York morning. You’re moving through the usual routine of getting yourself and the kids ready for the day when, surprise! School is canceled.

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Dr. William Raineri gets his patients’ pearly whites straightened out

By Tammy DiDomenico

Growing up in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pa., William Raineri didn’t exactly aspire to be an orthodontist. But he was certainly drawn to the idea of doing something to help others.

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Jim Greene leads Skaneateles revels

By Tammy DiDomenico

Jim Greene doubts he resembles Charles Dickens, the character he has portrayed each December for the past eight years. But the actor, who produces and is executive director of the annual Dickens’ Christmas festival in Skaneateles, does have a youthful sensibility and is filled with good humor. Biographers have attributed both traits to the enduringly popular 19th-century English writer whose A Christmas Carol inspired the lake-front celebration.

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Nurse Chris Vona Delivers information to expectant parents.

By Tammy DiDomenico

When the chimes ring out on the fifth floor of St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center in Syracuse, Chris Vona can’t help but smile. Those soft tones alert the staff that a new baby has been delivered.

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Rose Boyton's group helps parents cope with children's allergies

By Tammy DiDomenico

Nothing says "back to school" like a good old peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It's one of those American lunch-box classics that are so childhood, so seemingly innocuous, and. . . so potentially lethal. Three million American children are allergic to peanuts, and a bite of a PB&J can send some of them into life-threatening anaphylactic shock. 

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Laura Harting’s day campers learn to express grief—and have fun

By Tammy DiDomenico

For all of the important services offered through Hospice of Central New York, it might be hard to imagine any of them being described as “fun.” But Laura Harting, a children’s grief therapist with the organization’s Center for Living With Loss, has changed that.

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Barbara Gifford and her team find families for foster children

By Tammy DiDomenico

Becoming a foster parent transforms your life. Few people know that as intimately as Barbara Gifford, a homefinding supervisor for the Onondaga County Children’s Division Foster Care program. She and her staff take families through the extensive training and uncertainty that accompany the foster-parenting process.

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Meteorologist Wayne Mahar and his feline sidekick, Doppler, help Central New Yorkers weather the worst

By Tammy DiDomenico

To live in Central New York is to lament the weather. This past winter gave us our share of snow days and wind chills, and it’s almost certain that the summer will have us grumbling about humidity and thunderstorms.

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South Side librarian Ossie Edwards puts residents in touch with the facts

By Tammy DiDomenico

Try reaching Ossie Edwards at the Southwest Community Center in Syracuse once school has let out for the day, and you just might be out of luck. The library at the center, where Edwards spends half of her workweek, is typically abuzz with young people using resources such as tutoring programs and computer access after 2 p.m.

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Joe McCarthy is manning a Salvation Army red kettle for the 48th time

By Tammy DiDomenico

We all see them each holiday season: the hearty souls who brave the elements and the varied temperaments of holiday shoppers to collect donations for the Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle Campaign.

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Dr. Cynthia Morrow tends to the health of Onondaga County’s half-million residents


By Tammy DiDomenico

With a solid background in research and a range of medical field experiences, Dr. Cynthia Morrow was more than prepared to faced the challenges of Onondaga County’s sizable health department when she was appointed health commissioner last May. She moved up to the top spot, succeeding Dr. Lloyd Novick, from her position as director of preventive services with the department.

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