Author Archives: Janine Mack

Superstorm Sandy Leaves New Jersey Residents Without Power, Gas

Recovery process is slow in parts of New Jersey

© 2012 Janine Mack

By Janine Mack ROSELLE, NJ (NCC NEWS) – Though superstorm Sandy ended on Monday, life is still not back to normal in New Jersey.

Cranford resident, Daniel Halelt said, “Yes, we’re without power and running a generator.”

A week later, McDonald’s, Popeye’s and the local supermarket, Pathmark, and the Newark Public Library were all closed. One of the few businesses open, a bank, had a two-hour wait.

Driving around is also not an easy task. Downed trees and power lines blocked streets and highways. In Elizabeth, N.J. the street lights did not work and there was traffic avoiding the very long gas line.

Gas is hard to come by as many stations are still closed

At Sunoco, there was police tape sectioning off the gas pumps and entrance noting it was closed and ran out of gas. This same gas station was open yesterday.

“It’s easier to fill up a can than your car,” Haleltc said.

At Delta gas station in Cranford, N.J., there were 50 people in line. At Hess gas station in Newark, N.J., there were 100 people in line.

“We drove around. Some of the waits were four or five hours long,” Halelt said. “We’re taking a risk coming here, but we’d rather wait here than there.”

Antler Alert: Authorities Tell Drivers To Be Safe And ‘Slow Down’

New York State Thruway Authority, New York state Troop T remind drivers to watch out for deer

© 2012 Janine Mack

By Janine Mack EAST SYRACUSE (NCC NEWS) – Authorities in New York state are urging drivers to slow down on the roads so they can stop their car from slamming into a deer and getting hurt.

“We have a big deer-car increase in the fall so we put out the antler alert every year,” Syracuse State Zone Sergeant Robin Urbaniak said.

Early Friday morning, state police in Syracuse responded to an accident that happened within walking distance from their office. State police said this is the time — October to December — when most of the accidents happen. This year there have been 200 accidents and 8 of those people were injured. Just over 2,000 accidents happen throughout the state.

Deer have been spotted in downtown at Bellevue and Summit Avenues, the University area near Thornden Park, in the east side at St. Mary’s Cemetary and Fayetteville near Green Lakes State Park.

Deer were pushed out of their homes as Syracuse’s rural area developed into homes and businesses, said Brian Underwood.

SUNY-ESF Professor Brian Underwood said, “Everyone should respect the deer for the wild animals that they are and to be aware that they are now in your environment.”

Many people get frustrated with the damage deer cause to their car and to their yards.

“By taking a few simple steps, you can minimize the conflicts that often arises when deer and people coexist,” sid SUNY-ESF professor Brian Underwood.

State police offers these tips for drivers:

  • Deer are most active at dusk and at dawn.
  • Watch for deer eyes reflecting from the headlights.
  • Slow down when approaching deer standing at the roadside.
  • If you see a deer, brake firmly.
  • Never swerve to avoid hitting a deer.

“If they swerve, it is a chance to roll over or to hit a tree and they can get hurt really badly,” Sgt. Urbaniak said.

If you cannot avoid the deer, do not approach, touch or feed the deer. Drivers should call 9-1-1 for help.

State police urge all drivers to be alert and to be aware during their entire drive for deer on the road so that you and your car can make it home safely.

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7-Year-Old Son Fled Home While Father Was Attacked, Killed

Police say 7-year-old is the only witness to father’s murder

© 2012 Janine Mack

By Janine Mack SYRACUSE (NCC NEWS)  Syracuse police say a young boy is “traumatized” but “unharmed” after his father was killed in their home during the early morning hours on Friday, October 19.

According to police, three men entered the home of Jerry Mack, 65, on 221 West Kennedy Street in the south side of Syracuse to rob him around 2:00 a.m. on Friday morning.

The boy left the house and was picked up by a Good Samaritan, who drove him to his grandmother’s house on Croton Terrace.

Police say Mack had no criminal history and they are still looking for evidence.

Very little clues in this case

The boy told his grandmother that his father was shot, and she placed the original call to Onondaga County’s 9-1-1.  From Croton Terrace, the police went to 221 West Kennedy Street and found Jerry Mack dead in his home.

“We’re working with a 7-year-old boy right now, and he’s our best witness,” Sgt. Tom Connellan said.

When asked to describe the attackers, “three dark skinned males” was all Connellan said.

A handful of Mack’s neighbors did not know why three houses on their block were sectioned off with crime tape.

“We’d like to know who the person is that picked up this little boy somewhere this morning between West Kennedy Street and Croton Terrace, because basically he dropped the little boy off and left,” Connellan said.

Reaction to Jerry Mack’s death

Parents walking into and out of Beard School across the street to drop their children off to school were shocked to learn about Jerry Mack’s passing. At least five people, who did not give their name, slowed down in their cars to say the “older man” did not deserve to die this way.

Mack’s next door neighbor, who did not give her name said, “He was her friend, and he didn’t do anything to anybody”.

With more questions than answers, everyone outside on West Kennedy Street looked on as Jerry Mack’s body was taken away. An autopsy will be done to determine the exact cause of death.

Anyone with information on the three men who broke into Mack’s house or the person who dropped the boy to his grandmother can contact Syracuse Police at (315) 442-5222.

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Bullying Continues Despite New Law

Wisconsin WKBT Reporter Jennifer Livingston made news because she said she was cyber-bullied, but some children speak out against bullies everyday

© 2012 Janine Mack

By Janine Mack SYRACUSE (NCC NEWS) – Reporter Jennifer Livingston became the news when she read an email from a viewer on-air and claimed she was cyberbullied. According to Syracuse police, sixty percent of children are bullied. At one school in Syracuse, half of one 5th grade section raised their hands to say they were bullied.

Seven students three years ago faced the problem head on

Dr. King Magnet Elementary School was one of several schools that participated in the nation-wide anti-bullying campaign, “Be A Star”. Three years later, the children still know the rap they submitted word for word and stand by their message to the school.

“We did the rap to say you don’t always have to solve your problems with violence,” said Miles, now a 5th grader.

A sample of the lyrics are as follows:

  • “Bullies don’t belong in the school.
  • I tell you why.
  • At Dr. King’s school, we have … education, caring, respect, (and) responsibility,
  • I respect you; you respect me.”

A version of their rap was posted online. The rap brought WWE pro wrestlers “Phoenix” and “Edge” to their school. The wrestlers spoke about how they were bullied.

New anti-bullying law in place, but students see few improvements

Despite a visit from the WWE stars and the new Dignity Act, students still see bullying and could not agree on how to move forward.

Ms. Jennifer Stob, their teacher at the time, thought the project would raise awareness, not cause more bullying.

“At first, we were laughed at and bullied when we did the video. It changed somewhat, but there is still bullying,” said a 5th grade girl, who declined to give her name.

The Dignity for all students Act, a new New York state law went into effect on July 1, 2012, makes it a crime to bully.

Syracuse Police also see bullying as a problem still and offer advice

Officer Zolonda Slaughter helps students throughout Syracuse City Schools stop bullying. After her daughter was bullied, she developed a power point presentation to help students understand and overcome bullying without further violence.

Officer Slaughter teaches awareness through two Syracuse police programs that empower children as leaders at their school. The first one is D.A.R.E., a drug resistance education program, and the second one is G.R.E.A.T., a gang resistance education program. D.A.R.E. and G.R.E.A.T. provides one-on-one coaching, exercises and tools to help students to stop crime; including, bullying.

“First off, bring attention to it, then tell a responsible adult and if that doesn’t work, tell the police,” Officer Slaughter said. “I don’t know of any officer in our unit who won’t help a child that says they are being bullied.”

Officer Slaughter is more than willing to share her bullying presentation and tips with any student or school that contacts her. For more information, contact the crime prevention unit at Syracuse Police.

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Camillus Volunteers Named First-Ever Canal Ambassadors

New canal program empowers volunteers and uplifts the Central New York community

© 2012 Janine Mack

By Janine Mack CAMILLUS (NCC NEWS) — Volunteers from Camillus’ Erie Canal Park were designated the first “Canal Ambassadors” in a special ceremony on Friday.

“Our new canal ambassador program will both recognize our incredible volunteers out along the canal today and be a shining beacon to recruit and welcome new volunteers in the years to come,” New York State Canal Director Brian Stratton said.

Seventeen Erie Canal Park volunteers are first in the state-wide program

Erie State Canal Park Founder Dave Beebe and his wife, Liz Beebe, lead the way.

“At the store (Sim’s), 270,000 people visited the site in 2011 and 198,000 people visited the aqueduct site, which is mind-boggling,” Dave Beebe said. “Volunteers put in 25,800 volunteer hours to make that possible.”

“New York State’s canal program generates $380 million Dollars a year,” Stratton said.

The canal program and the park are staffed by volunteers. Fifteen other park volunteers received the award:

  • Eric Batten,
  • Gale Vance,
  • Ed Cooper,
  • Carol Coski,
  • Brent Coski,
  • Dawn Daggett,
  • George Eschenfelder,
  • Rob Smith,
  • Larry Handertree,
  • Hank Miller,
  • Ed Morgan,
  • Clyde Gold,
  • Roger Bisarick,
  • Jim Carroll, and
  • Frank Izzo.

“As New Yorkers, we are proud of our heritage, history and tradition of hospitality. Nowhere is this pride more evident than in the spirit of volunteerism found in Camillus. Our first Ambassadors here set a standard to inspire even more volunteers statewide to become involved in their canal side communities,” Chairman of the Thruway and Canal Corporation Howard Milstein said via email.

Canal ambassadors have on a blue shirt and are located throughout the park to help with everything from directions to where to get lunch from in the area.

Canal ambassadors invite everyone to see the park as they see it

After the ceremony, volunteers were treated to a boat ride for the first-time on a restored tugboat by fellow volunteer and boat captain Jim Bafile.

“We have (had a lot of people come down) especially on Sundays when we have the boat rides. We get a lot of turnarounds,” Jim Bafile said.

The tugboat circled the Erie Canal Park stopping at the aqueduct. Erie Canal Park was originally established in 1835, but it closed in 1917. On the boat ride, volunteers passed out lunch that consisted of a sandwich, chips and pudding. There was a choice of hot apple cider or coffee to drink. The boat went past the 1825 canal called “Clinton’s Ditch”, the denoting the exact midpoint of the original Albany-Buffalo canal route, and it stopped at the aqueduct. In 2009, Dave and Liz Beebe helped restore the park; including, the aqueduct.

Volunteers came from all over the city and up to 10 miles away and were excited to see the aqueduct as most of the time they are in the park, at the store or cleaning up. According to the volunteers, the program is a way to fellowship with other people in the community and to preserve the history of Central New York.

Local businesses such as Pine Grove Country Club donated parts of their land to the park. The Camillus Elks Club and the Kayak Shop could not say they saw an increase in business over the last three years since the park was restored.

Along the trail, people were doing outdoor activities such as:

  • Running,
  • Biking,
  • Camping,
  • Canoeing, and
  • Fishing.

To register as a canal ambassador, visit the canal’s website.

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When in Syracuse, Make a Movie

A red carpet, movie stars and flashing flights all brought attention to the Landmark Theatre

© 2011 Janine Mack

By Janine Mack SYRACUSE (NCC NEWS) — The Landmark Theater and the Syracuse International Film Festival teamed up to bring Hollywood to Syracuse.

Two Syracuse arts organizations, the Landmark Theatre and the Syracuse International Film Festival, rolled out the red carpet to kick off the upcoming film festival. The Landmark Theatre opened its doors at 5p.m. to a hand-full of excited film fans and actors.

“It is a great way for everyone to come together to appreciate the arts in Syracuse and to have fun after work,” said Landmark Theatre Development Director Mary Kate Hartmann.

The cost at the door was $10. Residents donated items to the silent auction on display in the middle of the happy hour. Proceeds from the event will be split between the two organizations. The Landmark Theatre plans to use the money for upkeeping the performing arts center. A few other upcoming films shot in Syracuse were advertised on the wall. People were chatting, drinking and watching movie previews.

The anticipated ‘King Lee’ movie previewed for the first time

People from all across Syracuse came into see the preview for the upcoming ‘King Lee’ before the film festival. The movie is loosely based on the life of former Syracuse Mayor Lee Alexander and is set in the 1970’s.

“We look at the Mayor’s downfall as a turning point for the city,” said ‘King Lee’ Co-Director and Co-Creator Tim Ferlito.

There was a casting call in August, and film makers say they are shooting the last scenes in the next couple of weeks. In one scene, a man is standing in a park talking to two beautiful women.

“I read the script, and it’s a lot more. It’s a really interesting character,” said ‘King Lee’ Actor Nathan Faudree.

“When I go to watch a movie, it was something special, and it’s still feel special to me today,” said Ferlito.

Other movies previewed

Other movies previewed were as follows:

  • Is that you? (2012) directed by Israel filmmaker Dani Menkin,
  • Crooked Arrows (2012) starring Brandon Routh and Crystal Allen,
  • The Express (2008) starring Rob Brown and Dennis Quaid,
  • Session (2007) directed by Israeli filmmaker Haim Bouzagio,
  • Slapshot (1977) starring Paul Newman, and
  • Snow Day (2000).

The ‘King Lee’ movie is tentatively set to release in January of 2013. The Syracuse International Film Festival is October 11 to October 14. To purchase tickets to this event and others such as Jersey Boys and Wicked, visit the Landmark Theatre’s website here.

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People Respond Different Ways to the Tough Economy

The cost of college influences what school to go too

© 2012 Janine Mack

By Janine Mack OSWEGO (NCC NEWS) — Students at SUNY–Oswego say the economy is getting better, but it is not where it needs to be.

According to a recent report by the Federal Reserve, there was an increase in student loan debt during the last quarter, and that is because of continued high unemployment nation-wide. Many people, who want to work, choose to go back to school instead.

“I picked a SUNY school, because it was cheaper and my parents could afford it more,” SUNY Accounting student Kyla Pegtruzzelli said.

As a department advisor, SUNY-Oswego School of Business Professor Steven Abraham helps people overcome this tough economy. He sees more than just recent high school graduates seeking help in his office. Abraham speaks with students who had careers, were laid off and then went back to school as well as those who worked one or two years after high school and then went back to college.

“The advantage to working a couple of years before you start college is that you build a nest egg so you don’t have to worry about how I’m going to pay my bills. How am I going to make ends meet?” Abraham said.

According to Abraham, many of those students are determined to get the most out of the college and graduate school experience, because they know how tough the job market is.  However, all students worry about the high unemployment rate and not being able to find a job to pay the student loans back after graduation.

“You see a lot of people who have college degrees, and they still don’t have a job,” SUNY-Oswego Finance and Marketing student Ruth Perez said.

 Five tips for those struggling with student debt:

  • If you have to work, take a job that is related to your field so you can list it on your resume,
  • Look for scholarships from your school and outside organizations,
  • Look for job opportunities on-campus that will help lower your tuition costs,
  • Do things such as extracurricular activities and a paid internship so you can stand out from the crowd at graduation, and
  • Seek advice from your advisor or an admissions counselor as soon as you decide to go to college, not during your last year.

For more advice on how to overcome student debt, click here.

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Mayor Stephanie Miner Speaks With Public

About 200 people gathered under the summer sun on August 8 at Thornden Park to hear the Mayor speak

© 2012 Janine Mack

By Janine Mack SYRACUSE (NCC NEWS) — The meeting started with the clean up of Thornden Park at 5:30P.M. The American flag was behind Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner. Miner stood in front of the people. She took one question per per about lawn waste, deer, construction traffic on Route 81, the police, illegal parking at the city’s parks and the budget.

One man who did not give his name asked for help, because his son was arrested. He did not get an answer, but stayed to speak with the Mayor one-on-one.

“Why do we not do anything about the deer that carry lime disease?” Gloria said.

The Mayor said she knew about the problem already and requested help from the DEC.

“Why so much trash on the street?” Another woman with red hair and a blue shirt that did not give her name said.

“There is a city law that prohibits trash on the street when it is not bulk pick up so let me know where the trash is,” Mayor Miner said.

A handfull of people stayed to talk one-on-one with the Mayor about their problems. The next summer meeting is on August 9 at 5:30P.M. in the South Side of Syracuse at McKinley Park.

Listen to more of the story here:

Mayor Stephanie Miner Wrap

Three Men Arrested For Breaking Into Head Shops

Two Syracuse stores that sell bath salts were damaged

© 2012 Janine Mack

By Janine Mack (SYRACUSE) — Police responded to suspicious activity at Tripp Hill Smoke Shop at 12:28 A.M. and an hour later at Tebb’s Head Shop on August 2.

Police said a shattered window was found at Tripp Hill. Two men wearing black hats and bandanas over their faces were seen leaving in a dark colored sedan. At Tebb’s Head Shop, the men broke a glass window, but then left when people noticed them.

Officer Brian Dellow noticed the car approximately fifteen minutes away from Tebb’s.

Last month, Tebb’s was sued by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for violating state laws on packing labels. An upset father whose son had a bad reaction damaged the Tebb’s Head Shop in Watertown. FBI official visited Tebb’s in the north side of Syracuse and took synthetic drugs in effort to stop them from selling bath salts.

The Syracuse Police said Kenneth Wilox of Syracuse, Tyler Cifra of Syracuse and Christopher Scott of Camillus were charged with burglary, larceny, conspiracy and possession of stolen property. They are held at Onodaga County Justice Center.

Destiny USA Celebrates Rebranding

Destiny USA will celebrate 22 years of history as Carousel Mall and kick off the mall’s future

© 2012 Destiny USA

By Janine Mack (SYRACUSE) – Carousel Mall is officially becoming Destiny USA. The celebration starts August 2 with a rebranding ceremony at 10:30A.M.

“Our laser show is going to be very exciting. It’s 9P.M. every night Thursday through Monday. It will be indoors and they are shooting the lasers down from the third floor. It should light up the whole Canyon area,” said Destiny USA’s Sara Wallace.

Each store will have store promotions and events. On Saturday, the Syracuse Children’s Chorus will sing. On Sunday, there will be a family fun day for people of all ages with clowns, face painting, a Magician and an Illusionist.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun. If there’s anytime to see Destiny USA, it’s this weekend,” said Wallace.

Wilson’s Leather, Five Below, Guess and Chico’s Outlet open this weekend. Some parts of the mall in the expansion are still under construction. Tours of Destiny USA and the celebration run through August 6.

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Destiny USA officially opens