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Category: Northside Business Partnership

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.

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.

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.

A Photographer’s Thoughts on Selfies: NBP Member Interview Series Featuring Duane Sauro

Written by Rachel Nolte  • April 27, 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.  



Sauro collage

Meet Duane Sauro, the owner and photographer of a unique portrait and wedding studio, Sauro Photographic Art. Duane’s business is a proud Northside Business Partnership member. Read on to get a professional photographer’s perspective on selfies, advice for aspiring artists, and more.

 Q: Your website says that Sauro Photographic Art is a second generation business. Did you grow up around cameras and photography?

Duane: Yes, I did. In particular, starting with the lab-work, we did a lot of film processing, which is of course an obsolete technology at the moment, but that’s what was normal at the time. Picture taking as well, but I began most of my exposure with lab-work probably around 12 . . .The business was on Salina Street, a little south of the business district back in the 60s. The business was actually started in ’45, right after World War 2, with my dad. As you say, second generation. Then for decades it was right across the street from the newspaper on North Salina Street, then we moved to this location here on Pearl Street in the late 80s.

Q: Did you always know you wanted to go into the arts as a career?

Duane: No, when I was in college, I actually majored in math and philosophy. I always was interested and loved the arts, but I didn’t know for sure at that point in time that I would come into the family business and take it over. I always found the lab-work to be almost magical, the way you see an image appear from nowhere. So when the technology changed into a digital format, although I loved lab-work, it actually was an enticement for me to further my commitment because of the increased creative avenues that were available for digital photography. I was always interested in sculpting, painting, and other art forms, so I always found that photography in its pure form when it was in a film format was more limiting to me than what I really wanted. I found myself often oil painting on top of photographs, doing extensive dark room where you’re using 3, 4, up to 9 different negatives to get a creative result. So when it went to digital, of course, the avenues were much more expedient as well as reusable.


Figure 1

“…this actually would have been a very pale looking photograph, in its original inception. But the oil painting on top did several things…I was able to add several elements that weren’t there, I could increase mood by making it more vibrant, I could make it more somber, but also it increased the longevity and stability of the product, which now wouldn’t fade at the rate of a regular color photograph.”
- Duane


Q: So you’ve already begun to answer my next question, which is that your aesthetic seems to involve non-traditional post-production techniques. What drew you into this way of working? So it seems like it was in large part due to the change in technology.

Duane: Before the technology actually did change, I was an extensive lecturer on creative portraiture, but often times the avenue that was being used was multi-media. So it was oil paint embellishments that were on top of portrait photography. An example would be this here (figure 1). So this actually would have been a very pale looking photograph, in its original inception. But the oil painting on top did several things. One, I was able to add several elements that weren’t there, I could increase mood by making it more vibrant, I could make it more somber, but also it increased the longevity and stability of the product, which now wouldn’t fade at the rate of a regular color photograph. So the ultraviolet rays would no longer penetrate through the oil paint, the ultraviolet rays being the element that causes photographs to fade over time. As technology became more sophisticated, the longevity of the color photograph certainly did increase gradually over decades. But with the oil paint put on top of the photographs, it was a much greater permanent archival product than what any photography even today is able to accomplish.

 Q: As a photographer, how do you feel about the culture of cell phones and “selfies”?

Duane: Oh, I think it all has its place. I think that all forms of self-expression have their place. People taking pictures with their phones? Selfies? I think it’s great because it shows the animation of the moment and that’s the sole intention of it. But they’re not going to be able to print it and archive it in any way because regardless of what all the places tell you that the high quality, large pixel size cameras are cable of, in my opinion, they typically are not. The quality is mostly intended to be viewed on the screen resolution of that equipment. Once you try to download that and try to make something to put on the wall from it, I doubt that you’re going to have much of the quality that you’re expecting . . . But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a tremendous value to what you said. You’re there at the moment, you’re on a beach somewhere, you’re with a good friend, you’re with a lover, whoever. You want to take pictures to document a moment. It does do that. It does have a value.

 Q: If you could make a portrait of anyone, who would it be and why?

Duane: I think at this point in time, I think I would be interested in a portrait of my dad because he is in a nursing home and approaching some of the emotional struggles with the loss of part of who he is now, and the immediate emotional interest in preserving the way that we used to know him yesterday. But in general, if I was to do a “portrait” outside of this particular emotional moment, it wouldn’t be what you’re asking, it wouldn’t be a rendering necessarily of that person. It would be a rendering of my perception of the sense of that person. It would almost invariably be an exaggeration—it would not be literal. It might be a combination of black and white and color, it might be a combination of images, it might be an elongation of body parts. Because once again, what would have a lasting value to me would be its aesthetic-emotional statement. Not its literal accurate rendering. So, at the moment, Dad. After the moment, probably nobody in terms of what you’re asking.

 Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring creative types and artists?

Duane: I would say that it depends on what you’re looking for the art to give you. If you’re looking for it as merely self-expression or if you’re looking for it as a career. That’s a really very key point. Many people go into careers because they have a love for the art, but more often than not they are completely different realms. If you’re going to make money as a successful business, the likelihood is that you’re going to need to gear your imagery towards what somebody is going to purchase. You’re also going to need to have exposure in a lot of areas that have nothing to do with your self-gratification, if it’s aesthetic. For instance, business sense. So you’re going to need to engage understanding of promoting, of book keeping, of managing people if you’re going to expand. All of those are things that typically the creative type are uninterested in. It has to do with left-brain, right brain. You’re either going to be a qualitative or a quantitative thinker, or feeler, however you want to look at it.

If you’re looking at the arts on the other hand, as merely self-expression, well then it’s an entirely different direction. You don’t need any of those courses in business. What I would say is frequent museums, try to focus on what forms of the diverse art expressions you see that appeal to you the most. Try to answer to yourself, what about that appeals to you? Is it the accuracy of the literal? Or is it the emotional expression of the illustrative? Is it the complexity of the surreal? In some way, you’ve got to ask what’s drawing you to that area.


Figure 2

“This is an image that was in a couple of Kodak’s publications and promotings over the years. As you can see, it’s surreal. You don’t really have those tones in a body. It’s also an elongation. You have the emotional statement of protrusion with the face up and above; you’re making a statement that goes beyond the literal.”
- Duane

NEHDA Presents Clean Up ‘Cuse: Northside | April 22 from 10 am – 1 pm

Written by Rachel Nolte  • April 6, 2017

rachel_for-webEditor’s Note: Rachel is serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) at NEHDA for the year. Her roll involves a variety of tasks, such as recruiting volunteers and applying for funding opportunities to plan really cool, really fun events that benefit the community. Rachel graduated from SUNY New Paltz with a BFA in Sculpture and a minor in psychology. She spent the past year serving in another AmeriCorps program where she traveled the state of New York to help out with various environmental projects. As part of Rachel’s work with NEHDA, she is writing some posts for us to share. All of her posts can be found under the “NEHDA” category. To learn more about NEHDA, visit their website and Facebook.

Clean up Cuse banner

Syracuse, NY—Every ‘Cuse resident is familiar with the infamous lingering winter. It shapes our city’s culture and affects our daily lives. We have those that embrace the weather and those that resign themselves to constant misery from mid-October until late May. However, pro- or anti-winter folks alike get excited when the days begin to lengthen and the hesitant sun returns. This excitement is with good cause, too. We’ve survived another snowy season and have a few months of heat and growth and maybe even some swimming ahead of us! Ice cream stores re-open, bars and restaurants have outdoor seating, and the whole world seems to come out of hibernation and swarm the public parks.

Sadly, not every part of the springtime is so cheery. As the remnants of the tired yellow, brown, black, and grey snow banks melt away, the horrors underneath are revealed. Bottles, bags, wrappers, newspapers, cigarette butts, tires, Styrofoam—it’s almost enough to make a person long for snow to cover up all the litter! Almost. Fortunately, there’s a better option. Every year, neighborhoods all over Syracuse host litter clean up events on or near Earth Day.

The Northeast Hawley Development Association (NEHDA) is organizing three such events—one in a neighborhood near you! Or so we hope. The meet-up locations are the following:

— In front of the Flat Iron building on 536 N. Salina Street for the N. Salina Street corridor cleanup

— In front of the YWCA on 401 Douglas Street for the Rose Hill cleanup

— In the parking lot of Laci’s Tapas Bar on 304 Hawley Avenue for the Hawley Green triangle cleanup

 If you want to participate or provide donations, please email Rachel (@) nehda.org or call (315) 425-1032. Special thanks to Dunkin’ Donuts and Home Depot for providing donations to make the event a success.



1. Free donuts from Dunkin’ Donuts

Say, that sweetens the deal!



2. Feeling proud of your community

You can see the tangible difference that you made!



3. Spending quality time outdoors

When’s the last time you were outside? No, walking from your car into your home doesn’t count.



4. Everyone can participate: all generations are welcome!

No age limits here.

4_1 4_2


5. You can go out for lunch!

You’re already out and you’ve done some good work, so you might as well treat yourself to lunch at a fabulous Northside restaurant. There’s so many delectable options!


Sandwiches by Thanos Import Market.


6. Spend quality time with friends

Come stag and make cool new friends, or bring an old buddy and catch up over clean-up.



7. Soak in the beauty

The Northside is already beautiful. You get to make it even more beautiful while enjoying the beauty. SO MUCH BEAUTY.



8. Get the most out of your Saturday

You’re going to get a jump start on the day because you have to be at the Clean Up by 10 am. Then you will be done in the early afternoon with lots of Saturday ahead of you to enjoy! You can spend the rest of the day being productive, or perhaps napping.



9. Bragging rights

While we hope that you are bringing everyone you know to this event, you can brag to those of your friends who fail to participate.



10. Spending time with the awesome people that work at NEHDA

We’re so fun to be around that we really are providing you with a free service. Plus, we bring our friends.


NBP Member Interview Series Featuring Alan Poushter

Written by Rachel Nolte  • March 29, 2017

rachel_for-webEditor’s Note: Rachel is serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) at NEHDA for the year. Her roll involves a variety of tasks, such as recruiting volunteers and applying for funding opportunities to plan really cool, really fun events that benefit the community. Rachel graduated from SUNY New Paltz with a BFA in Sculpture and a minor in psychology. She spent the past year serving in another AmeriCorps program where she traveled the state of New York to help out with various environmental projects. As part of Rachel’s work with NEHDA, she is writing some posts for us to share. All of her posts can be found under the “NEHDA” category. To learn more about NEHDA, visit their website and Facebook.



Ra-Lin collage


Alan is the president at Ra-Lin Discount: The Original Discounter! This Northside Business Partnership member is a second generation, family-owned supplier of large appliances, electronics, photography equipment, and much more.


Q: How long have you been in Syracuse? How long have you worked at Ra-Lin?

A: First of all, Ra-Lin’s started in 1953. It was started by my father-in-law, Bernie Radin, and his partner Herman Zeitlin. I was born in 1952, so actually just the year before the store opened—born and raised in Syracuse, went to Nottingham. In fact, all the owners went to Nottingham. The owners are my brother-in-law, Lewis Radin, and my wife, Marsha Poushter, but she was Radin obviously before that. We were all born and raised in Syracuse, went to Nottingham. The only time I left was when I went to University of Denver for college. When I started at Ra-Lin, it was 1978, so 39 years. Hard to believe.


Q: Ra-Lin has everything from major appliances to home theater speakers to jewelry. How do you provide knowledgeable staff support to customers when you have such a broad range of products?

A: We have specialists in every department. In fact, what you’ll find is even right now, there are two appliance people who just do appliances. There are two people who just do the TVs and stereos. There are two people who do jewelry. There are two people who do small appliances and there are about four of us in camera because we do photo finishing too. And that does not include the sporting goods, by the way. They have their own—there’s like five people that work just in sporting goods. I think what separates us from the competition is our knowledgeable staff. Also I would say most of the staff, believe it or not, have been here over 30 years. Not only are they knowledgeable, but the appliance people have been here 30 years and 40 years, in TV one guy has been here 30, 40 years. Also, whatever department the person is in, the guys are into it. The TV department, the guys are into it. The sporting department, the guys are sportsman and they go off sporting. The camera people shoot photography. Everyone who is in their specialty is also an avid fan. It’s not just a job. It’s their hobby. In a nutshell, that’s who we are and why we’re successful. People know that when they come in here, the person that they’re going to talk to is highly knowledgeable and motivated and into it. It’s not just a job.


Q: Have you ever had strange requests for products you don’t carry? Can you think of any examples?

A: Oh, every day. We get a lot of calls for computers because people think we sell computers. Computers and computer accessories. You would think it would go with everything else we sell here—it’s what I call a small big box. We carry pretty much everything a big box store would carry, without the computer stuff.


Q: What do you like about being located on the Northside? Dislike?

A: Yes we’re on the Northside, but we’re also almost downtown. We’re also Eastside. We get a lot of customers from DeWitt. Although I am on the Northside and belong to all the groups, I consider myself a centrally located—although, like I said, we’re on the edge of the Northside. We like the location. We’re centrally located and we’re right near the Teal Ave exist and the downtown exit, the Townsend Street exit, and we’re convenient no matter what side of town you’re on. And I think our big advantage over other businesses on the Northside is we have PLENTY of adequate parking.


Q: Lately, we’ve had such new technologies as smart phones, 3D TVs, and Blu-ray. Any thoughts about what the next big technology will be?

A: Well, we’re selling some drones. It actually falls into the camera department because all the drones have these high-quality cameras. Most of the drones you see are used for monitoring or looking at things, so it’s photography, video. All of ours are really sold to photographers, who are now getting into it. We’re selling some to business guys, construction guys, who use it instead of getting up on a ladder to look at a roof, or a farmer or real estate people. It’s still a new thing but we’re starting to sell some. What we find is that even though they’re photographers, they’re not good flyers, and we’re having trouble with things crashing. So we’re getting together with the clubs that use model air planes. They came at it more from the flying part and we’re more at it from the picture part, so we’re trying to work with the local model air plane guys.

The other thing we’re selling new are these security cameras. With these new security cameras, you can look at your store or your house on your phone, wherever you are. The security camera is hooked up to your computer through the Wi-Fi, and from your computer to your phone. There, again, we have a specialty guy. He has to come out and look at your house. You could home-install it, but most of the time you would hire someone. And we’re not doing so much individuals with security cameras as small businesses. We did a system for the Canal Museum. People have gone away from alarm systems because you can see it on your phone. Less false alarms.


Q: If I could write you a check to buy anything in the store, what would you get and why?

A: I would say the fancy drone or the big TVs. The other thing I would say is, the appliances are getting more sophisticated. You can monitor your refrigerator. That’s the new thing—monitoring of the home appliances. From your phone, you’ll be able to find out what’s in your refrigerator. This is kind of in the future, what they’re talking about. They’re not quite there yet, but you’ll be able to get it from your phone, all this stuff.


To learn more about Ra-Lin, visit their website at RaLins.com.

Re-imagining Syracuse’s Churches

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • March 28, 2017

CNY Central--Churches

Earlier this month, CNY Central reported on the many different churches in our city that have found new uses in a changing community. Many of the examples are from the Northside, including the Samaritan Center, the Myanmar Baptist Church, and Assumption Church.

“It would be easy to be discouraged at the number of church buildings closing in the Syracuse area. But people who watch religious trends say changes for church buildings, are not the same as changes to Faith.

Professor Margaret Thompson, who studies religious trends at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School, says that yes, we are changing. But, we’re not abandoning our houses of worship.

She says some congregations may leave their buildings, but other groups often replace them, often representing groups that are new or growing in the community. A perfect example, the former Friedens Church on Syracuse’s Lodi Street, which was established by German immigrants. The congregation closed after 111 years as numbers dwindled, but the building is now occupied by the Myanmar Baptist and the Syracuse Nepali Churches. . . 

Big changes are also coming to Assumption, the landmark twin steepled church complex on Syracuse’s North Salina Street. Shockwaves went through its community, and actually the whole North Side community, when for sale signs went up on some of its buildings. Friar Rick Riccioli, the pastor at the Franciscan church says it’s part of a continuum: ‘This was orignally a German parish, and the Assumption Campus was the hub for them, both spiritually and culturally. The North Side has changed.’

Assumption is not closing, but it is reinventing itself. The buildings that have housed services to the community, including the soup kitchen, medical clinic and legal aid, are being sold. Those services will be relocated to the building that now houses the friars’ residence. It, and the church itself are the only two properties that will remain in Franciscan hands.

Assumption is also selling its old high school, which will once again become apartments, only this time they’ll be rented at ‘moderate prices, with the hopes of attracting more young adults to the area.”

To read the entire article and watch the video, visit CNYCentral.com.

The Syracuse Northeast Community Center is Hiring!

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • March 16, 2017

SNCC Collage

SNCC is looking to hire a full-time Comprehensive Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (CAPP) Educator. This person “will support a citywide initiative that aims to engage youth, 10-21 years old, in dynamic and meaningful programming to increase self-confidence and self-worth while decreasing the likelihood for teen or unwanted pregnancies.”

Duties will include outreach to schools, organizations, health centers, and parents; educational interventions using curriculum and program requirements dictated by the grant; documentation and record-keeping of program data.

Minimum requirements for the position include a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Education and one to three years of experience.

To read the full job description, click here. Interested candidates are asked to send a cover letter and resume to Sarah Walton (swalton@snccsyr.org) by Thursday, March 23.

To learn more about the SNCC, visit their website and follow them on Facebook.