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Monthly Archives: November 2014

Salt Works on Livable CNY

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • November 24, 2014

Liveable CNY Salt Works

Livablecny.com recently profiled Salt Works on their website in the article, Wood Work: Artisanal Craftsman Jobs for Syracuse Immigrants. They beautifully capture the stories of Pedro Ignacio Díaz Ramos and  Luis Vilella, two of the craftsman behind Salt Works’ sustainable furniture. “Before becoming a carpenter with Salt Works, the most extensive woodwork Pedro Ignacio Díaz Ramos had done was chopping down trees to sell as firewood in his hometown of Guantánamo, Cuba. Whenever money was tight, which was often, he would bike nearly 10 miles to the mountains where the wood made for good kindling—not far from the mountain range where Fidel and Ché plotted the Cuban Revolution. “Day after day, my situation—my life—became much harder,” said Ramos. While Ramos, 47, sold the bundles of wood for only 20 cents each in Guantanamo, he now helps pull in several thousand-dollar woodworking projects for Salt Works . . .” Read the entire article here.

Photo Friday: Hawley-Green Under Light Snow

Written by admin  • November 21, 2014


On the Calendar: 5th Annual Buy Local Bash

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • November 18, 2014

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We’re excited for SyracuseFirst’s annual fundraiser, the Buy Local Bash, presented by AmeriCU: a celebration of all things local, complete with food and beverage tastings, shopping, and live music. This year, the party will be held at the Landmark Theatre and will feature a special toast sponsored by the Syracuse New Times and a short performance by dancers from Syracuse Ballet’s The Nutcracker.

Some of our Northside businesses will be in attendance, including Laci’s who will be sampling some of the menu items for their new lunch spot and Rocky’s News and Cigars who will be collecting donations to the Food Bank and giving away  custom-branded Buy Local Bash cigars with every donation. Our UP Start Syracuse entrepreneurs will also be at the Bash, giving out samples of food and coffee and selling bags of beans and jewelry.

Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Purchase them HERE. Stay up-to-date with all things Buy Local Bash by joining the Facebook invite.

Work Train Aims to Fill Jobs in Local Manufacturing

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • November 17, 2014

This Work Train update was originally published in CenterState CEO’s November/December newsletter, CEO Essentials

CEO Newsletter

As of early October, there were more than 430 unfilled manufacturing-related jobs in Syracuse, Liverpool and East Syracuse alone, according to the New York State Department of Labor Job Bank. Many of these employers may pay above minimum wage, offer fringe benefit packages and support continuing education for employees in good standing. Some operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week to meet customers’ needs. Others face potential expansion but worry about not being able to fill orders if they cannot hire the right people in time.

At the same time, there are many un- or underemployed individuals in the community. Given the right training and support, these people could be excellent candidates for local employers seeking to fill jobs.

Enter Work Train—a CenterState CEO-led initiative that cultivates industry partnerships to create a pipeline of job applicants to fill positions that might otherwise go unfilled. Work Train works with businesses to identify and aggregate employer hiring needs. Once the skills have been documented, Work Train networks with community-based organizations and educational institutions to identify, recruit, assess, prepare and then refer potential job candidates for interviews with employers that have job openings.

Work Train is looking for manufacturing sector businesses that want to be part of this process. To learn more about participating, contact Rosemary Jonientz, Work Train assistant director, at rjonientz@centerstateceo.com or call 315-460-5507.

Work Train’s Roots: Work Train initially piloted this platform on the North Side of Syracuse with St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center in health care and construction jobs. Work Train is now scaling up its efforts, most recently partnering with Loretto to hire certified nursing assistants for The Cottages in Cicero. Work Train is staffed by CenterState CEO and guided by a collaborative consisting of leaders from business, philanthropy, economic and workforce development, training and education, local government, and community-based organizations. 


Photo Friday: First Snow

Written by admin  • November 14, 2014


Red Dragon House Gets an Excellent Dining Out Review

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • November 13, 2014


Last week, Syracuse.com featured an article on a new Northside restaurant: the Red Dragon House. Located at 1614 Lodi Street, the business is named after the symbol for Bhutan and serves up a variety of Bhutanese dishes.

“Like many of the best ethnic restaurants we’ve enjoyed, this one is small and plain, and the food is exciting and delicious.

We were fortunate to arrive on the first night of Diwali, the Hindu festival of light. The restaurant was decorated, the staff dressed in black suits with red ties, and traditional music came from the back room set for the celebration.

The menu is brief, offering different sizes of many dishes. Unfamiliar with the cuisine, we sampled the smallest portions available of several typical dishes. One of the most interesting, fun parts of the experience was discovering that some of the food served looked very different from the menu’s pictures.”

Read Jane Marmaduke’s entire article HERE.

Join us for a Northside Networking Event!

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • November 12, 2014

Tomorrow evening, our fall Northside Networking Event will take place at Sparky Town from 4:00 – 6:00 PM. Property and business owners and elected officials are invited to stop in and enjoy light fare, a cash bar, and good conversation. No registration is required.

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This event is hosted by the Northside Business Partnership (NBP), a collaboration between Northside UP, the Greater North Salina Business Association, and CenterState CEO that work to promote, support, and engage Northside businesses. 

On The Calendar: Learn, Watch, and Taste

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • November 10, 2014

Events collage

This week there are three free events hosted by our NBP member businesses: The Small Business Development Center at Onondaga Community College (SBDC), ArtRage, and Vinomania. Check out the details below.


Free Small Business Training
Thursday, November 13 from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Northside CYO, 527 North Salina Street

SBDC, in partnership with Office of New Americans, is offering a free class for entrepreneurs to learn more about starting their own business. No registration is required. Please contact cholmes@ccoc.us with any questions.


“What If . . .” Film Series: Urbanized
Thursday, November 13 at 6:30 PM
ArtRage Gallery, 505 Hawley Avenue

Check out the last film in ArtRage‘s “What If . . .” Film Series. Urbanized follows cinematographers Gary Hustwit and Luke Geissbuhler as they travel around the world to interview people and film specific urban design projects representing the issues facing cities today. The world’s population is in the midst of a massive migration to urban areas, and the design solutions our cities implement in the next 20 years will be critical.


Free Wine Tasting
Saturday, November 15 from 4:00 – 6:00 PM
Vinomania, 313 East Willow Street #109 (Entrance on Pearl Street)

Stop by Vinomania to taste a selection of Gary’s wines and sample sweets from Lune Chocolat.  $1.00 from each bottle sold will benefit the CNY Cat Coalition.

Photo Friday: Clear Skies Ahead

Written by admin  • November 7, 2014

Photo Friday_Fall Leaves Web

Grandpa’s Special Wine

Written by Joe Russo  • November 6, 2014

Editor’s Note:  Joe Russo is a “Nortsider”, a retired 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 each month under the category, “Old Times on the Northside”.


Long before the Finger Lakes wine trails ever existed wine making thrived on the Northside. Over the years I have taken many wine tours. Each time the tour guide walks us down to the room where the grapes are crushed I say to myself, “this smells just like grandpa’s cellar”. The grapes grandpa crushed were very aromatic. Even during the times of the year when grandpa wasn’t making wine the sweet Muscat grape aroma lingered. My grandfather took great pride in the making of his wine. Many grandfathers on the old Northside made wine. They all tried to recreate a tradition they remembered from the old country. Of course, different regions of Italy became famous for different regional grapes and wine. Tuscany became famous for Chianti. My Grandfather being from Sicily loved to make his Muscatel.

Grandpa’s wine was a special wine. I remember how everyone who ever tasted his wine would tell a story about a vintage from a previous year. Then they would hold the glass up to the window and marvel at its clarity and beautiful reddish brown color. And then they would sip the wine carefully because not only was it a pleasure to drink, it was powerful. The Muscat grape is high in sugar content and can have a higher than normal alcohol value. My father told this story many times over and over again. He was working at New Process Gear at the time and valued putting in more time turning out parts on his lathe than he did eating lunch. One day, on his way home from work he had to stop at Grandpa Emmi’s house to pick up something for my mother. My grandfather had just bottled his newest vintage. He implored my father to sit and taste his latest wine. My father was tired and anxious to get home. He did not sit down. Instead he stood and sampled the wine, thinking he could quickly down the beverage and head for home. He did not sip the Muscatel. He drank the entire contents of the glass in one swallow. The next thing Dad remembers is lying on the kitchen floor with grandpa shaking him and laughing at the same time. Thus, a family legend was born.

I remember asking my grandfather over the years why his wine was so good. He always responded that it was because he used special grapes. One could buy these grapes only from a produce distributor based in Utica. No one else in upstate New York had the special grapes. One day I was lucky enough to be at grandpa’s house when the truck from Utica arrived loaded with special grapes. I watched joyfully as the wooden boxes of grapes were stacked carefully in the driveway. At one point I recall shouting out, “I wanna make wine!” Grandpa laughed and pinched my cheeks with his rough hands as he always did. I never did get the opportunity to make wine with my grandfather. Nor did any of my uncles or cousins carry on the tradition of making homemade wine.

Many years later when I was transitioning from a business career to a career in education I was taking courses at Oswego State. I renewed some friendships from my first run at a Bachelor’s Degree in the early 1970’s. One of my friends had a girlfriend from Utica. Robin Inserra and I quickly became friends do to our common Sicilian ancestry. One Sunday afternoon while enjoying a glass of wine and pasta with a wonderful red sauce we began to talk about our grandparents. We talked about family traditions and the old world ways of our grandparents. The conversation drifted into the area of work. Innocently, Robin asserted that her grandfather had a very important job in the Italian/Sicilian community. He sold the “special grapes” to make wine. “He sold the special grapes”, I shouted back! “Yes” she replied somewhat surprised and amused at the same time. I explained that over the years whenever I engaged in the discussion of wine making with vintners and connoisseurs they never heard of the “special grapes”. And now here I am sharing glass of wine with the granddaughter of the man who delivered the special grapes to my grandfather. It wasn’t a myth or just a story. It was true. Special grapes, special wine and special memories, Salute!

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