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Monthly Archives: May 2017

NBP Member Interview Series Featuring Thom Madonna

Written by Rachel Nolte  • May 24, 2017



Editor’s Note: The Northside Business Partnership is an association comprised of Northside businesses, property owners, and organizations. It serves as an advocate group for the Northside, strengthening the vitality of the business community by connecting, engaging, and promoting its members. NBP is administrated by NEHDA.


For more information, subscribe to the NBP newsletter by emailing business@nehda.org or visit the NEHDA website here.  





Thom is the general manager for Attilio’s, which is owned by Lou Santaro and Roy Sardo. Attilio’s has been a Northside Business Partnership member since 2013 and has been delighting customers with distinct Italian cuisine on the Northside since its opening in 2010.


Q: How long have you worked for Attilio’s? How did you get into this line of work?

A: Since we opened, March 9th, 2010. I started [in this line of business] when I was in high school . . . 36 years. Restaurants were always a part time gig, whether it be waiting tables or bartending or something of that nature. And then 9/11 happened, my dad died shortly after, and I thought “life is too short to do things that make you unhappy.” So, that’s when I got into the restaurant business full time. I was with Antonio’s at the time, full time with them. They closed down in 2009 and then I took a tour of Syracuse, at 8 different spots in 9 months. Nothing felt like home. Current owner asked me back, and here I’ve been.


Q: Has Attilio’s always been at this location? What do you like about being located on the Northside?

A: Yes. For one, we’re Italian and we’re in Little Italy. For two, this is a unique restaurant with a large history and a good following, regardless of new and old. As far as our banquet facility, it’s unique to Syracuse, I think. It’s one of the nicest, if not the nicest banquet facility . . . The banquet room is exclusively for private functions, so if you have a birthday, an anniversary, a wedding reception or rehearsal dinner, baptism—I do ‘em all. I do it from baptisms on up to funerals, and everything in between. I’ve seen kids take their first steps and done their rehearsal dinners. So, that’s how long I’ve been at this location, is 20 years. Some nice dinners, nice memories, and nice cocktails.


Q: Any dislikes?

A: Sometimes the neighborhood gets a little rowdy. But we try to make it work. That’s probably the only downside. I keep telling myself, when you think about Armory Square, for the first 10 years, I think Pastabillities was the only place there, otherwise it was rundown buildings and so on. So I keep telling myself it will be at least that to get off the ground.


Q: What dishes would you recommend to a first time Attilio’s diner?

A: Oh, there’s so many. My personal favorite is Veal Saltimbocca. Scallop and Shrimp Veneziana and Chicken Gabrielle are unique to our restaurant. Veal Saltimbocca has just been always a favorite dish of mine. A nice combination of meats and sauces and vegetables served over a bed of spinach, so you kinda get a healthy meal right there in one plate.


Attilio's collage


Q: Any favorite drinks?

A: When we first opened, we did the WinterFest every year and we won a bunch of awards for those, but they’re changing so often. We make good margaritas, manhattans, martinis, things like that. One of my personal favorite drinks is the Old Fashioned, a Southern Comfort Old Fashioned muddled.


Q: If you had to manage a restaurant other than Attilio’s, what kind of restaurant would you manage and why?

A: I don’t think I would. I have always been in this business. It’s in my blood. My grandparents owned restaurants. Skipped my mother’s generation, they didn’t want to have anything to do with it because as kids they had to do pots and pans. So it skipped them and I can’t get enough of it. So I know that I’ll always be in this business in some aspect.


Q: What’s the weirdest food you’ve ever had on the menu?

A: Us being an Italian restaurant, we at times throw in dishes with an Asian flair and people are always taken aback by that but they seem to love it. Like an Ahi tuna with a seaweed salad or something like that. There’s other dishes that are not Italian that we’ve done in specials and people absolutely eat them up and love them.


Q: Do you have any advice for people interested in getting into the restaurant business?  

A: Just give it your all. If you’re going to do something, do it with your heart, body, and soul. Don’t do it halfheartedly. It’s that simple in my mind. You either want to be in the business and you want to do a good job to make people happy and enjoy their experience every time, or you don’t. If you don’t, don’t get into it. It’s that simple.


To learn more about Attilio’s and see their tasty menu, visit their website.

Photo Friday: Urban Dwelling

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • May 19, 2017


Building Bridges for Economic Inclusion: Welcoming Economies Convening Comes to Syracuse

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • May 17, 2017

WE Convening


This October, CenterState CEO and the Welcoming Economies (WE) Global Network will host the 5th Annual Welcoming Economies Convening: Building Bridges for Economic Inclusion in Syracuse. This three-day conference “weaves together cutting edge policies, successful programs, innovative ideas, and a network of trailblazers in our emerging field of immigrant economic development.” While the schedule of events are still being developed, the Convening will feature a community tour, workshops, presentations and more. Individuals and organizations can register here under the Early-bird Special to receive a discount on the conference.

The WE Global Network is a program of Welcoming America in partnership with Global Detroit. Their mission is to “strengthen the work, maximize the impact, and sustain the efforts of local economic and community development initiatives across the region that welcome, retain, and empower immigrant communities as valued contributors to the region’s shared prosperity.” To learn more, visit the program’s website.

To get an idea about past Convenings hosted in different Rust Belt cities, check out these recaps from 2016 Philadelphia, 2015 Dayton, and 2014 Pittsburgh.



More AmeriCorps VISTA Positions on the Northside

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • May 15, 2017



Last week we outlined several AmeriCorps VISTA positions under the Community Prosperity Initiative (CPI) at CenterState CEO. But, there are a few other Northside organizations seeking VISTAs to serve in other capacities. Both the Syracuse Northeast Community Center and NEHDA are looking to for VISTAs.


The Syracuse Northeast Community Center (SNCC) is seeking a passionate, flexible person who is comfortable working with a diverse populations to serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA. The position is created in partnership with Syracuse University to help strengthen SNCC’s capacity as a community school partner. The VISTA’s projects may include: creating a series of events, and communication pieces between SNCC and Dr. Weeks Elementary School; researching, designing, and administering surveys to parents; working with Syracuse University professors, courses, and community engagement initiatives to design programming that will engage neighborhood families and teach healthy eating practices.

For more information, view SNCC’s recruitment flier and check out the job listing on the VISTA website. If you have any questions, please send them to Lexie at  (315) 472-6343 ext. 215 or lkwiek@snccsyr.org.


NEHDA currently has two VISTA positions open: one as part of CPI and another in partnership with the the Neighborhood Preservation Coalition of New York State (NPCNYS). This VISTA would serve with NEHDA and help develop and implement outreach campaigns, write grant proposals, and organize community meetings and events. NPCNYS encourages any person who is interested in community development, public health, and/or affordable housing to apply and gain skills that will “create positive change in historically underserved communities by empowering community-based organizations and residents.”

For more information, view NEHDA’s website or the full job listing on the VISTA website.


The AmeriCorps VISTA program includes a living allowance, an End of Service Education Award or Stipend, personal and medical leave, health benefits, child care assistance (if eligible) and a relocation travel allowance. To learn more about the AmeriCorps VISTA program, visit the VISTA Campus website.

Photo Friday: Spotted on Cawtaba Street

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • May 12, 2017

Through the fence

Gain Experience in Community Development: VISTA Opportunities with CenterState CEO

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • May 10, 2017

VISTA positions

CenterSatte CEO‘s Economic Inclusion team is searching for individuals to fill five different AmeriCorps VISTA positions as part of the Community Prosperity Initiative,  a long-term vision to develop a diverse set of community revitalization strategies guided by organizations who share resources to collaboratively address collective challenges. Each VISTA will serve a unique partner organization while receiving further support from CenterState CEO. The sites that make up the initiative are Cooperative Federal Credit Union, Home HeadQuarters, Jubilee Homes of Syracuse, Inc., NEHDA, Inc., and CenterState CEO.

Cooperative Federal

Since 1983, Cooperative Federal Credit Union (Coop Fed) has been building a strong, fair, and inclusive local economy by investing over $120 million in homeownership, small business, and affordable consumer credit primarily in the urban, multicultural neighborhoods of Syracuse. The Coop Fed VISTA will assist in building program capacity and enhancing alignment with community-based development initiatives in workforce and small business development. The VISTA will also assist with strengthening and improving programs and systems in the credit union and lead key strategic planning initiatives. For more details about the position and how to apply, click here.

Home HeadQuarters

Home HeadQuarters (HHQ) meets the needs of underserved Central New York homeowners and potential homeowners by providing low-interest loans, homeownership education and counseling, and real estate services designed to make home ownership a reality. The HHQ VISTA will assist in measuring and documenting the organization’s impact, which includes providing support to the local Green and Healthy Homes Initiative, updating neighborhood plans and maps, and utilizing different tools to analyze neighborhood revitalization efforts. For more details about the position and how to apply, click here.

Jubilee Homes

Jubilee Homes of Syracuse, Inc. (JH) is a key organization in Syracuse’s Southwest community. JH is a catalyst for achieving the revitalization of the Southwest community, with efforts in neighborhood rehabilitation, community building and business development. The Jubilee Homes VISTA will support joint JH workforce and economic development programs by developing outreach materials, implementing recruitment channels, planning special events, and more. For more details about the position and how to apply, click here.


NEHDA facilitates community development that promotes strong and safe neighborhoods, thriving businesses and active civic engagement on the Northside, Syracuse’s historic melting pot. Since 2008, unprecedented public-private partnerships have led to over $250 million in neighborhood investment. New collaborations are moving forward today, catalyzing private development. The NEHDA VISTA will assist in fostering a stronger and more connected business and entrepreneurial environment by planning neighborhood beautification efforts, assisting the Northside Business Partnership, identifying opportunities where NEHDA can assist businesses and potential entrepreneurs, and more. For more details about the position and how to apply, click here.

CenterState CEO

CenterState CEO’s Economic Inclusion team is dedicated to creating thriving communities through increased prosperity for all Central New York residents. The CenterState CEO Economic Inclusion VISTA will assist in fostering a stronger and more connected environment by researching national trends in economic inclusion, helping with program development in ways that incorporate stakeholder feedback and processes that allow the work to be scaled and replicated, and more. For more details about the position and how to apply, click here.


The AmeriCorps VISTA program benefits include $973/month living allowance, an End of Service Education Award or Stipend, personal and medical leave, health benefits, and a relocation travel allowance. Those in the Community Prosperity Initiative will also gain access to community immersion experiences. To learn more about the AmeriCorps VISTA program, visit the VISTA Campus website.

NBP Member Interview Series Featuring Patrick Strodel and Rebecca Markus

Written by Rachel Nolte  • May 4, 2017

rachel_for-webEditor’s Note: The Northside Business Partnership is an association comprised of Northside businesses, property owners, and organizations. It serves as an advocate group for the Northside, strengthening the vitality of the business community by connecting, engaging, and promoting its members. NBP is administrated by NEHDA.


For more information, subscribe to the NBP newsletter by emailing business@nehda.org or visit the NEHDA website here.  



Lead Safe collage


Patrick Strodel is the president of Lead Safe LLC and Rebecca Markus is the owner. Lead Safe is a New York State Certified Woman-owned Business Enterprise (WBE) that is dedicated to professional lead testing and consulting. Lead Safe has been a Northside Business Partnership member since 2013. Read on to discover more about the link between poverty and child lead poisoning and easy ways for you to keep your family safe.

 Q: What are your positions with Lead Safe?

 Patrick: She’s the owner, and I’m the Operations Coordinator, which is kind of a catch all for whatever needs to be done.

 Q:  How did you come to work for Lead Safe?

 Patrick: I actually started this business back in 2000. Then we decided for professional reasons to change the ownership. It started out as a little Lead Safe DBA, you know, small business, and then we decided to make a Limited Liability Company, Lead Safe LLC, and we decided to have [Rebecca] be the sole member. It helps with a lot of different things, not including protecting assets.

Q: What kind of background do you need to have to go into this type of work?

 Patrick: Well, I started out in the mid ‘80s doing asbestos removal. At that time, it was a really thriving business where it was so new and everybody was sort of freaked out by asbestos that they’d almost throw money at the owners of these companies to get rid of it. I got the training and certification back then to do it. But I quickly realized that that business was not so nice, especially for the workers. You’re in the bowels of buildings, removing pipe insulation and whatever, and not the best work. So I switched from the company that I started with to a different company that did air monitoring and project monitoring and that company had a training school where basically their policy was you could take whatever training courses they had for free. So I just took whatever they had, and lead was one of them. Nobody at the time was really a specialist in lead, so I’m like, that’s perfect for me! At the time, compared to today, there was very little, very few programs in the country for dealing with lead, so I was like a pioneer to find out from the different sources what really needs to be done to control this thing. That’s how it kind of started. I learned to be a lead inspector, then ended up being a trainer.

 Q: Has Lead Safe always been located on the Northside?

 Patrick: We were on Burnet Ave. for a while—

Rebecca: —and then a couple of blocks down the road. We’re both from upstate New York. He grew up in Syracuse, I grew up in Utica.

Patrick: I’m a legacy Northsider though. My father’s family lived here and actually this building was previously the Altman building.

 Q: What about this location keeps the business here?

Rebecca: Well, right here, we’re lead central. This Syracuse area—actually, there’s pockets in New York—Syracuse is a big one, Buffalo is another one, Utica to a smaller extent just because it’s a smaller city, and then down near New York City.

Patrick: There’s clusters of amazingly high instances of childhood lead poisoning.

Rebecca: It’s primarily because the housing stock is so old. It’s been a while since I looked up the statistics, but as of a few years ago, about 75% of the housing stock was built before 1945. You go around here, you go within a one block radius and you’ll see chipping and peeling paint, and lead paint was great, it held up well to mold and moisture so they used it everywhere here. But now it’s deteriorating so it’s becoming a problem.

Patrick: We also see a disproportionately high incidence of childhood lead poisoning in inner city housing with minorities. That’s a couple reasons, she alluded to some of it. The housing stock, those places were built back when Syracuse was the grand city and they were beautiful homes, but they’re not maintained like they were. Also, the people that live there, and I’m painting with a wide brush here, but they’re living in poverty and consequently things like nutrition is not the same as it is elsewhere and so a child’s body that doesn’t have what it needs tends to absorb things like lead much more readily than if you had a full satisfied nutritional diet  . . . The problem is not just a child is sick for a while. It’s a lifetime ailment and the cost to that person and to society—if you take the humanity out of a lifetime of suffering, which of course we wouldn’t do—but if you just looked at it bold, brass, dollars and cents, a child that has this problem is reduced IQ. To the point where they probably won’t finish high school, or if they do, they’re in the very lower echelon of grades. There’s a relationship between the amount of education you have and the amount of income you’re able to generate.  A lot of the kids don’t graduate from high school, they have difficulty finding jobs, or they can’t even keep a job. They still need food and shelter, so where are they going to get that from? Criminal behavior. There’s a direct relationship between childhood lead poisoning and criminal behavior  . . . A significant number end up in the correctional system, and who pays for prison? Taking the humanity out of it and just looking at dollars and cents, this problem is massive and extremely expensive.


Lead Safe collage 2


Q: Do you have any advice for steps the average person can take to safeguard against lead in their homes, especially considering that many people on the Northside rent and live in older buildings?

Patrick: Because of the lack of information out there, the public thinks, oh well we banned it in 1978. Why are we still talking about it? And it’s because it’s still here!

Rebecca: There’s this disservice of saying, ‘oh well, I don’t eat paint chips. It’s not going to be an issue.’ And actually, usually that’s not the primary way that people are exposed to it. It’s usually a secondary thing. Kids have toys near the windows or on the floor, or there’s lead dust. It gets on their hands, and they go to grab something to eat, they’re not going to wash their hands first, so whatever’s on their hands goes right into their mouths. Or with little, little kids, 2 and younger, everything, hands go into the mouth. And that’s primarily how they’re exposed. It’s not the stereotypical picture of a kid by a wall eating those paint chips.

Patrick: Although some do. But the data shows that more than 90% get it from the dust.

Rebecca: Particularly right now with spring and hopefully we’ll get some warmer weather, people are starting to open up their windows. Good thing to do and particularly for older windows, get a wet paper towel. Wipe that window sill. Have it be a weekly thing. Wipe those windowsills so that paint chips can’t build up on them. Same with the window wells when you open up that window. Take a wet paper towel and wipe that window well, get out those paint chips, and throw it out. Probably the easiest thing you can do. Other things like using Swiffers to clean your floors. Again, you’ve got that wet towel that you’re putting on something like a Swiffer and you can throw it away and that way it’s out of the environment.

Patrick: The important thing is not to reuse it. The reason it’s paper towels and not a sponge is because you’re gonna discard it. Unless you’re going to throw out the sponge, you’re just moving the lead. The sponge will retain some of it. So like, either baby wipes or paper towels, something with moisture that you just wipe across, particularly the window sills and troughs, that’s the main sources. That actually would have a significant impact in the city if people regularly did that.

 Q: What is the importance of using a wet cleaning material?

 Patrick: Lead kind of clings. It’s almost like electrostatic. It likes to stick to the surface, so if you just wipe the surface with a dry towel, some will become airborne and you’ll just move it. It won’t be as effective as picking up the lead from the surface. Even better is to have a little soapy water that will break down that surface tension. But even if it’s just a wet cloth, will go a long way in cleaning up the dust. So definitely wet, not dry, and soapy is better. That’s why I say baby wipes.

 Q: What’s your favorite thing about your job?

 Patrick: Knowing that we make a difference, I think every day, with the children that live here. It’s kind of a weird idea, but we’re actually in business–

Patrick & Rebecca together: —to put ourselves out of business.

Rebecca: It’s a strange irony.

Patrick: I’m sure we could make a living doing something else. So if we actually ever ran out of lead hazards to identify or people to train—but the sad fact is, it’s so extensive, not just in Syracuse but all over the Northeast, and particularly in the Erie Canal cities. There’s so much of this housing stock. In our lifetime, we’re not going to run out of work. Unfortunately. But knowing every day when we’re doing our thing, we’re making a difference.

Rebecca: The ideal is for us to go in to do our job before a child is affected by it, have that lead treated, and have there be no issue. So it’s also kind of ironic because if we do our job well it means that nobody notices. If we don’t do our job well, then there’s going to be trouble down the line.


Learn more about Lead Safe and the services it offers on their website: www.leadtesting.net.

On the Calendar: Festival of the Arts, Culture Gala, and a Bike Ride Fundraiser

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • May 3, 2017



This May, our friends at the St. Marianne Cope Shrine & Museum, Hopeprint, and ArtRage are all planning special events this month.


Festival of the Arts

WHEN: Saturday, May 6 from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m.

WHERE: St. Marianne Cope Shrine & Museum, 601 N. Townsend Street

The Festival of the Arts celebrates “the art of dance, cuisine, painting, language, music, and gardening” on the anniversary of St. Joseph’s Hospital opening day in 1869. The Shrine & Museum will feature exhibits, displays, and workshops during the event that showcase the creativity of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities. Workshops include lessons in the ukulele and Hula dancing. $10 donation is suggested at the door, but not required. For a full list of details, visit SaintMarianne.org. Stay up-to-date on the event, by joining the Facebook invite.


Hopeprint’s Culture Gala 2017

WHEN: Friday, May 19 at 6:30 p.m.

WHERE: SKY Armory, 351 S. Clinton Street

Hopeprint’s annual fundraiser features a cocktail hour, five-course meal, entertainment, and an afterparty. The meal “highlight[s] the flavors of the world at our doorstep” and is influenced by chef consultants for the Hopeprint family to ensure the flavors of their culture come through. As guests enjoy dinner, the stage is filled with ethnic dance and music performances, culminating in a “multi-cultural” dance party. For ticket information, including a student discount, visit Hopeprint.org. Stay up-to-date on the event, by joining the Facebook invite.


Re-cycling History: ArtRageous Bike Ride Fundraiser

WHEN: Sunday, May 21 from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

WHERE: ArtRage Gallery, 505 Hawley Ave.

Re-cycling History is a fundraiser to help support ArtRage’s mission and educate the community about the history of social justice in our area. There are three routes to choose from when registering for the bike ride with different destination points for each: Skä•noñh – Great Law of Peace Center is an 11 mile ride; Matilda Joslyn Gage House is a 20 mile ride; and Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum is a 38 mile ride. Each site will feature a short presentation before the return-trip back to ArtRage gallery to enjoy lunch and the current exhibit, AT ALL COSTS: Photographs of American Workers by Earl Dotter. Registration begins at $25. To learn more about Re-cycling History, visit ArtRageGallery.org. Stay up-to-date on the event, by joining the Facebook invite.

Procession of Neighbors: In Support of Refugees

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • May 1, 2017


Catholic Charities of Onondaga County and InterFaith Works are teaming up for an event on May 7th from 3:00 – 4:30 PM. Procession Of Neighbors: In Support of Refugees aims to bring together people of all different faiths to show their support for the refugee community. The procession will begin and end at White Branch Library, making several 5-10 minute stops along the way. You can view the route here.

This event is free and open to the public. For more details, visit Catholic Charities’ website or join the Facebook invite.