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Monthly Archives: April 2013

NY Main Street General Information Meeting

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • April 29, 2013

Do you own a business or a building on the Northside that needs facade renovations or an overall upgrade? Northside UP is looking for properties along the 4-, 5-, and 600 blocks of N. Salina Street, a portion of the 500 block of Prospect Avenue, and the 6- and 700 blocks of N. State Street who need help with building renovations. A $225,000 grant from the New York State Main Street Program will be used for building and street upgrades in this target area.

The Main Street Program awards money to help seed building renovations and street enhancement across New York State. The project is especially interested in mixed-use properties and aims to contribute to historical preservation and affordable housing. In the past, focused areas of Syracuse’s Northside have benefited from the grant. In 2009 $10,000 went to street renovations, including trash receptacles and street banners. $190,000 was spent on building renovations, including the facade of Excel Wholesale. With the 2012 grant, $210,000 will go to building renovations with the potential of adding approximately 16 affordable housing units and $15,000 to streetscaping.

An informational meeting will be held this evening, April 29th at 6:30 PM in the Assisi Center (800 N. Salina Street). We will discuss the requirements and priorities of the project and applications for interested property owners will be available. Applications are due on May 31 and award announcements will be made in June.

If you have any questions, please contact Jonathan Logan at 315-299-8228 ext. 11 or jlogan@northisdeup.org

NBP Member: Today’s Rentals

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • 

Today’s Rentals is an independently owned rent to own and retail sales home furnishing store. Approaching a decade of business in the greater Syracuse area, Today’s Rental counts on the support and continued loyalty of their customers. Their knowledgeable and trained staff will make sure you receive great customer service with punctual same day delivery of the best brands at the best prices.





Editors Note: Each Monday, we’re introducing a community spotlight piece highlighting one of our Northside Business Partnership (NBP) members in an effort to showcase the diverse and unique businesses that make up the Northside. NBP is a collaboration between Northside UP, the Greater North Salina Business Association, and CenterState CEO that works to promote, support, and engage Northside businesses. 

Photo Friday: Bloom

Written by admin  • April 26, 2013

Photo Friday: Bloom

Yesterday and Today at Our Lady of Pompei

Written by Joe Russo3 Comments • April 25, 2013

Editor’s Note:  Joe Russo is a “Nortsider”, a teacher, and an aspiring writer. We’ve asked him to share his stories of the past and offer his perspective on the present and future of our neighborhood. His posts will appear a couple of times each month under the category, “Old Times on the Northside”.

Everyone has memories, some are distant and vague. Other memories feel like yesterday even though they happened years ago. My memories of the old Northside include my years attending school at Our Lady of Pompei. Of course I remember the nuns, especially the sister with the raspy voice and the wooden spoon. I remember the great basketball games at Assumption and Saint John the Baptist. I also remember that when the good sister teaching your class said, “You need to go down the hall and see Mother Superior, now!” This was not a good thing. My mother was the President of the Mother’s Club and good friends with Mother Superior. If Mother Superior did not end my life, my very own mother surely would.

I remember also my father looking at a report card and thinking he is going to be proud of all those 80’s and 90’s. But he ignored the grades and focused his attention on the right hand side of the report card. I am sure we all remember the behavioral traits such as “Begins work promptly”, “Cooperates with others” and “Works carefully”. As a young grammar school student I was baffled that my father cared so deeply about how well I was prepared and how carefully I completed my daily lessons. What could be more important than earning a 90+ score on tests and quizzes?

Character is the answer to that question according to Armondo, my father. Today I am an English teacher at a public high school. Based on my experience, modern education is a world obsessed with test scores, growth models and gap analysis. There is little or no time for character education.  I recall one incident in which I angrily said to my father, “…who cares if I listen to directions, isn’t getting a 95 more important?” Holding my report card in his right hand Dad knelt on one knee and placed his left hand on my shoulder. His eyes were at the same level as my eyes, there was no mistaking the seriousness of what he was about to say. “Yes, I am happy to see a 95 rather than a 75 but it is not the most important thing. Having good character, respect for your teachers, getting along with your classmates and knowing right from wrong are more important. As you get older you will find making good choices to be very important. Sometimes somebody gets a 95 but they made bad choices along the way, you might even say they cheated. When you stop being a boy and become a young man I want you to be confident and proud that you have arrived by making the right choices for the right reasons. This is why your Mother and I are sending you to Pompei. “

The day I was sent by Sister Anastasia to Mother Superior was a memorable one. As I walked down the hall I was nervous, as my Father would have said I made some bad choices in class that morning. “Oh, Joseph, I’ve been waiting for you”, said Sister Mary Daria, aka Mother Superior. “Can you help me unpack these boxes and put the books on the shelf” she continued. Methodically I went about the tasks of unpacking and stacking while anxiously waiting for the other shoe to drop. I had been rude and selfish as well as back talked my teacher, not good choices, and I knew it. Sister Daria talked about my Mom and Dad and how invested they were in my success. She also expressed her belief that I would become a fine young man; however, developing a sense of responsibility was the key. As I look back upon school and life experience I can honestly say that two roads often emerge from a wooded and unclear path. A choice must be made although it’s not a clear choice every choice does make a difference in who you are and how you got there. I haven’t always made the right choice. Nevertheless, I did learn at Our Lady of Pompei that building good character may be one of the most important things a school can do.

Joe Russo _ Our Lady of Pompei

Health Train 3

Written by Denise Nepveux  • April 24, 2013

Last week was an exciting Health Train tryout week! We received 132 applications. Sixty-six candidates interviewed and underwent academic testing on Monday and Tuesday. Eighteen were selected to engage in team communication skills and practical skills testing on Wednesday. With great difficulty, we narrowed the field to ten outstanding candidates. On Monday, these candidates began an intensive 5-week work readiness training program, which will include a two-week internship in patient transport or environmental services at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

This overwhelming display of interest in Health Train is further evidence of the great need in Syracuse for quality work training and job readiness programs that link job-seekers to work opportunities with family-sustaining wages and career growth potential.  We are striving to grow our capacities to serve this need by strengthening and expanding our partnerships with educators, social service agencies and employers.

Welcome, new Health Train students!

Health Train Try Outs

On the Calendar: Journey to the Tent of Abraham

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • April 23, 2013

The audience watches a performance at Hendricks Chapel during the first Journey to the Tent of Abraham event in 2007.

This Sunday, stretch your legs and your spirit with Women Transcending Boundaries (WTB). Journey to the Tent of Abraham: The Second Step is a 1.7 mile walk to visit 8 local religious institutions along the University Avenue Connective Corridor. At each site you will learn about the faith traditions, local histories, and religious practices of each Methodist, Episcopalian, Jewish, Catholic, Muslim, Pagan, and interfaith organization.  A celebration with ethnic refreshments and entertainment will take place after the walk.

This event is intended to bring together people of different faiths and backgrounds and create a safe and welcoming environment where individuals can explore various religions and traditions.

For those who’d like to attend but are unable to walk, a grant from the Gifford Foundation has made available a mini-coach for transportation to each site. Because seating is limited, please reserve your seat by calling Liz Spence at 315-652-5676.

For more information about Journey to the Tent of Abraham  (including a printable map), visit the WTB website.

This event is made possible by the collaboration between WTB, the Matilda Joslyn Gage Center, Hendricks Chapel, Islamic Society of CNY, Alibrandi Catholic Center, Winnick Hillel Center for Jewish Life, Temple Society of Concord, Grace Episcopal Church, and University United Methodist Church.

NBP Member: Attilio’s Restaurant

Written by admin  • April 22, 2013

Attilio’s Restaurant and Bar continues the Little Italy tradition of good food, friendly service, and a lively atmosphere. Their lunch and dinner menus offer a wide array of classic Italian cuisine. With outdoor seating in the summer and an atmosphere that is relaxed yet sophisticated, Attilio’s is the perfect place to enjoy a casual dining experience any time of year.



Editors Note: Each Monday, we’re introducing a community spotlight piece highlighting one of our Northside Business Partnership (NBP) members in an effort to showcase the diverse and unique businesses that make up the Northside. NBP is a collaboration between Northside UP, the Greater North Salina Business Association, and CenterState CEO that works to promote, support, and engage Northside businesses. 


Photo Friday: Grateful

Written by admin  • April 19, 2013

Today is the last official day of Emma and Sarah’s VISTA year. We have treasured having these two women on our team and are grateful for their wit, intelligence and hard work!

VISTAs Sarah and Emma

Inspiration from Homeboy Industries

Written by Emma Voigt  • April 17, 2013

In the midst of an economic recession, the task of providing social services to an underserved population is growing more and more daunting. In some census tracts on the Northside, the poverty rate is as high as 30%. Homeboy Industries, in Los Angeles, California, tackles a similarly heavy task. In 1988 Father Greg Boyle founded Homeboy Industries to address the need for youth employment opportunities. Their work continues to impact the lives of young people throughout Los Angeles.

Currently, Los Angeles County is home to 34% of California’s poor, and 75% of youth gang homicides in the state occur here. The Homeboy organization focuses on formerly gang-involved and incarcerated men and women. Their model combines a range of services including: employment services—job preparation and placement; mental health services—individual therapy, substance abuse counseling, and group classes; legal services; curriculum and education—GED preparation, and a partnership with Learning Works! (a program that specializes in the education of young people); Solar Panel Training and Installation—preparing students to take a national certification test; and a charter high school offering life skills and enrichment classes.

Twenty-five percent of the funding for Homeboy’s services comes from its seven social enterprises, which include: Homeboy Bakery, Homeboy Silkscreen & Embroidery, Homegirl Café & Catering, Homeboy/girl Merchandise, Homeboy Farmers’ Market, Homeboy Diner at Los Angeles City Hall, and Homeboy Grocery (distributing products through regional grocery chains). In 2012, the businesses were estimated to bring in about $3,500,000 per year. By providing employees with a living wage, they are able to provide for their families while learning valuable soft and vocational skills. Homeboy employs between 240-280 people per year.  As Northside UP works to create a social enterprise, we believe Homeboy Industries’ approach is transferable to other settings.

Homeboy attributes their foundation of success to making programs and opportunities easily accessible for clients—everything takes place in gang-neutral downtown Los Angeles. By keeping all services in one location, clients are more likely to access all Homeboy has to offer, and because they are more engaged, they are more likely to successfully complete programs. In certain parts of the Northside, as many as 36% of residents do not have access to a vehicle.  Northside UP plans to focus its initial social enterprise efforts on improving the quality of life for residents of bourgeoning neighborhoods.

Homeboy Industries has found the primary driver for gang-involvement to be lack of alternative options and opportunities. One hundred percent of Homeboy’s clients are low-income, 99.9% are people of color, most have PTSD or complex trauma, most were abused or abandoned as children, all witnessed violence, and most have only an elementary school reading level. Gang-involvement is largely an effect of poverty. Yet, Homeboy points out that to children who must walk through various gang territories to get to school, who have never seen anyone graduate college, or are homeless, “joining a gang does not always seem like a bad (or particularly big) decision.” In order to break the cycle, better options and opportunities need to be made available.

Homeboy provides second chances to those of whom the rest of society has discounted.  The organization is an outstanding example of rethinking a flawed system.   By engaging in social enterprise, Syracuse can do its part to offer alternative options and opportunities for the underserved in our community.  By increasing opportunities, we can reduce costs and drive economic revitalization.  Perhaps most importantly, by creating opportunities, we enable the people in our community to make positive life choices that result in positive life changes.

Credit: www.facebook.com/HomeboyIndustries

Credit: www.facebook.com/HomeboyIndustries

Credit: www.facebook.com/HomeboyIndustries

Credit: www.facebook.com/HomeboyIndustries

Gala & Silent Auction: Support the BCPC

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • April 16, 2013

Butternut Police


Friends of the Butternut Community Police Center (BCPC) will host the 2nd Annual Gala and Silent Auction. During the event, BCPC will honor two heroes from our Northside neighborhood: Gilda DiCaprio and Earl Colvin. Gilda has lived on the same Northside block her entire life and Earl has lived and worked on the Northside for many years. Both heroes were instrumental in establishing the BCPC. Their commitment to building a dynamic and diverse neighborhood is truly inspirational.

There will be food, entertainment, and a cash bar during the event. Raffle tickets will be on sale for $1.00.  Tickets for the gala are $35 per person. The center is funded through donations and is run by volunteers. All youth between the ages of 6-16 are welcome regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, or country of origin. The BCPC aims to make a real difference in the lives of the youth in our neighborhood. The Center’s evolving programs include youth recreation, arts and crafts, trips to sporting events, homework assistance, summer camps and field trips, and the ability to talk with a police officer who knows the neighborhood and works to establish relationships with the diverse communities in the immediate area. Proceeds from the gala and auction will benefit the mission and programs of the BCPC.

For more information, including sponsor packages, click here.  For ticket information, please contact Officer Ken Burdick (466-9029 or cop@butternutcenter.org) or Sandra Ostrander (552-7139).