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LIBRARY FOCUS: Keep the spirit alive with holiday activities at BPL

The tree is lit and the presents are wrapped but the season is far from over, folks. Come on down for help with your own preparations or a chance to enjoy some free entertainment in his expensive season.

FROM THE ASSEMBLY: Federal lunch changes cost schools

School lunch purchases are on the decline. According to the New York School Nutrition Association, more than 19 million fewer meals were sold across the state during the 2012-13 school year than the year before. In the 2011-12 school year, 94 million meals were sold, but in 2012-13, only 75 million were sold.

LIBRARY FOCUS: BPL offers a break from the madness

The trees are lit, the malls are packed and holiday madness abounds, but you can still find sanctuary and holiday helps at your library. Step back and enjoy an art display made of flowers past and pressed or update the family and your word processing skills with our Wired Wednesday classes. We also have books, magazines and craft databases full of last minute holiday ideas. Stop in soon and see what we can do to make your holiday a happier one.

FROM THE ASSEMBLY: Is weather detection system necessary? Spend budget surplus on Upstate infrastructure, too

Here in central New York, our municipal budgets are often stretched during time of high snowfall because of snow removal costs. If anything, $18 million would be better used to provide our municipalities assistance with these costs as opposed to using the $18 million on a duplicative weather detection system.

GUEST COLUMN - Baldwinsville: A sleepy little suburb — or maybe, just maybe, so much more

Going through Baldwinsville during the Christmas season is truly like something straight out of the pages of a book. It looks like the small towns depicted in so many Christmas movies.

From the state senate: Support Cell Phones for Soldiers

I have kicked off my seventh-annual Cell Phones For Soldiers collection drive to help our soldiers serving overseas stay connected with their loved ones back home, especially during the holidays. You can support this important cause by donating your gently-used mobile phones to any of my designated collection sites throughout Onondaga County and the city of Auburn. 

LIBRARY FOCUS: Check out BPL’s holiday programs

Whatever the season we’re here to make your life better, be sure to take advantage of some of our special holiday themed services, classes and entertainments this December. First and foremost, stay off the spammers’ radar by sending your Santa letters the old fashioned way in our special Santa Express box. Drop them off by Dec. 20 and you should get a reply by Christmas. You can also save shopping trips by picking up some calendars chock full of historic B’ville photos for just $10 or buying your stocking stuffers from the Friends of the Library’s nut table full of delicious and reasonably priced snacks and hostess gifts.

Volunteers make holiday efforts possible

This time of year, there are a number of foot soldiers out there working to make someone’s holiday special. Whether it’s adopting a family to make sure they have presents under the tree or working at a local community dinner to ensure that people have a warm holiday meal in good company, many volunteer their time to give back to their community.

State offers scholarships, assistance with higher ed

Fall is the time of year when many graduating high school seniors start to look toward the future. According to the New York State Education Department, in 2010, 82 percent of high school graduates in New York entered postsecondary education which includes either two- or four-year institutions.

It’s time to get excited about Onondaga Lake

On Nov. 3, Honeywell announced that they have completed the court ordered dredging and removal of 2.2 million cubic yards of contaminated material on the western shore of Onondaga Lake, a year ahead of schedule.

Thanking our veterans

This column is dedicated to our veterans. I am pleased to host the CNY Veterans Parade and Expo held at the New York State Fairgrounds. Each year, this event gets bigger and better and this year was no exception. Fair officials estimated that more than 8,000 spectators and participants came through the gates to salute and honor the extraordinary service that our Central New York men and women in uniform have contributed to defending America’s freedoms.

LIBRARY FOCUS: Give thanks for BPL programs

Give thanks this week brings us a brief break for reflection before the holiday madness reaches full speed. In the meantime we have resources to help you cope, help you profit or help you get out of the way of the prevailing insanity.

On the campaign trail: Mahoney endorses Katko

Republican Congressional candidate John Katko has received the backing of Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney.

On the campaign trail: DeJoseph will have a ballot line

Judge Brian DeJoseph has earned the Conservative Party nomination in his bid for reelection to the New York State Supreme Court. DeJoseph’s name will appear on Row C this year along with other highly qualified Conservative candidates. This position will appear on ballots in Onondaga, Oswego, Jefferson, Lewis, Oneida and Herkimer counties.

On the campaign trail: Maffei agrees to debates

During the 2012 season, Rep. Dan Maffei participated in just two debate. He's upping that number this time around. The Democratic incumbent running for the 24th Congressional District has announced a series of debates and joint appearances with Republican challenger John Katko. Four debates will be televised by local stations, and two will be broadcast on public radio.

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