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COLUMN: Library focus - Celebrate the season at the library

The holidays are upon us once again and we’re here to help. Whether you’re looking to celebrate or escape the madness, we have the resources you need.

Uncommon grace

Show of sportsmanship in state soccer final a teachable moment

Jerry Mackey was, no doubt, elated that his Oneonta girls soccer team had just won the state Class B championship on a windy, wet Sunday night at SUNY-Cortland. But before he could celebrate with the girls he coached, he had a more important task at hand.

COLUMN: Library Focus -- Ease your holiday hassles

Help the holidays are on the horizon! Shopping! Food! Stress! Arggh but once again we are here to soothe your pain with some great ideas to ease your holiday hassles including a class on putting together a holiday newsletter with Microsoft Word; chances to catch up your sewing/knitting projects away from prying eyes; a session on ereaders in case you’re shopping for one and a special book fair at Barnes and Noble with great local entertainment.

COLUMN: How a fortuitous meeting opened my mind

When I first met Vince Cook, I was working part-time as a server at the Market Diner in Syracuse. Vince was sitting alone, drinking coffee and reading a book on editing. He told me that he and his wife Terri were writing and publishing a book. He didn’t tell me the topic at that time, nor did I ask.

COLUMN: Cell phone charges: New York’s growing tax

Recently, the Tax Foundation released a map showing the combined local, state, and federal cell phone rates. The map showed, not surprisingly, that New York residents pay the third highest cell phone tax rate in the country. Our state and local cell phone tax is 17.85 percent.

COLUMN: Casino gaming up for public vote

Often issues arise in the State legislature where there are meritorious arguments on either side of the legislation. This holds true for the state-wide referendum championed by Governor Cuomo that, if passed, would change our State Constitution to allow, among other things, the siting of four commercial casinos in Upstate New York.

COLUMN: County Legislature approves $1.2 billion budget — preserves historic 2013 cuts

As the Legislature concludes the fast, furious and daunting budget review process, I wanted to share some insight on the finished product for 2014. To understand the relevance of the 2014 budget, it is necessary to first revisit 2013.

What’s in a name?

Long past time to deal with offensive nicknames, pro or otherwise

First, before we plunge into the raging discussion about what to call that Pro Football Team in Washington, let’s just admit that none of our hands are clean here – journalists included. Thousands of times in hundreds of stories over the decades, we have shown no shame, apology or hesitation dropping Native American-based nicknames into the flow of the story. And we’ll continue to do so in the days, months and years ahead.

SCOTTLAND: The best laid plans

I had every intention of writing my column this week about my experience of having gone through one of BOOville’s haunted houses this weekend. I even had a taker — my friend Stacy was going to go with me. And she too is not a big fan of these things. Still, off we drove Sunday night, ready to face our fears full on. Yet, while she was texting a friend on the way, laughing and distracted, I was driving, tensing up, getting more and more nervous as we neared our destination.

Tease photo

Guest Column: An inside look into my journey to the 2016 Paralympics

Baldwinsville resident Erin Scala just returned from a week, Sept. 6 through Sept. 13, at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Below, the athlete chronicles her experience.

Bonding, not hazing

Stories at Cornell, B'ville highlight troubling issue

Cornell University, academic bastion, Ivy League stalwart, producer of so much talent in so many fields – the school has every right to feel proud about its place, both as an institution and as the source of so much pride within the Ithaca community. And while sports are important for the Big Red, it tries hard not to reflect the larger ugliness that surrounds big-time college athletics and has been profusely documented everywhere you look.

COLUMN: Lysander to receive $400,000 from the county’s Suburban Green Infrastructure Program

The “Save the Rain” program is a comprehensive stormwater management plan to reduce pollution to Onondaga Lake and its tributaries, like the Seneca River. The premise of the program is simple: If we reduce the amount of stormwater that enters the sanitary sewer system during wet weather events, we will optimize existing resources to treat wastewater while avoiding contamination of natural resources.

SCOTTLAND: Taking the limburger challenge

My Poppy loved limburger cheese. But, as the story goes, he was only allowed to indulge in it after my Nina and mom went to bed. He would then break out some rye bread, onions and mustard, spread on the cheese, and, as I can only imagine because there were never any witnesses, proceeded to savor each bite with a long, slow chew to prolong his night-time pleasure — all by his lonesome. I do know he kicked it back with a Genesee beer to complete the Old World tradition.

SCOTTLAND: Gearing up for this year’s Oktoberfest

Next Friday on Sept. 13, the first keg will be tapped commencing Baldwinsville’s Sixth Annual Oktoberfest — and I plan to be there for the occasion. I remember the B’ville tradition going way back, and was probably even at the last one held in the early ‘90s before the fest took a long hiatus.

COLUMN: New Basic STAR exemption requires registration by homeowners

As a member of the County Legislature’s Ways & Means Committee, I received a detailed presentation from New York State’s Department of Taxation and Finance (DTF) on new legislation pertaining to the Basic STAR exemption.