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The ultimate act of love

Placing a child for adoption is heartbreaking, but sometimes the best choice for the child

Carrie Howard was thrilled when she found out she was pregnant. “I always wanted to be a mom,” Howard said. “I was living with my boyfriend and his family. I was 20 years old and was very excited when I found out.” But things quickly went downhill. “My boyfriend didn't want to be a father,” Howard said. “I ended up having to move out and back in with family. My family was supportive, but they were unwilling to have a newborn in the home. I found myself at a crossroads where I had no job, no home, no license or car, not really anything to offer a child.” So Howard, a Liverpool native, decided to place her unborn child for adoption.

Lights on the Lake opens Nov. 14

Starting Friday, Nov. 14, Central New Yorkers can visit Onondaga Lake Park and take in one of the biggest light shows in the Northeast. Lights on the Lake kicks off its 25th anniversary season next week. The event draws somewhere around 35,000 cars each year.

Yale professor hosts ‘emotional intelligence’ workshop for parents

Marc Brackett is “trying to build an emotionally intelligent New York.” Brackett, director of the Yale Center of Emotional Intelligence, is teaming up with OCM BOCES to host interactive workshops for parents and teachers to learn how to raise emotionally intelligent children — that is, children who can manage their emotions effectively throughout life’s ups and downs. Brackett will be holding three “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Matters” workshops next week: one for parents Sept. 30 at Fayetteville-Manlius High School, and two for educators Oct. 1 on the OCM BOCES campus in Liverpool.

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OCM BOCES opens new Innovation Tech high school in Liverpool

For too long, we’ve been doing education the same way — and it’s doing our students a disservice. At least, that’s what the administrators at Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES believe. And they’re trying to address the problem by introducing a new kind of instruction in Central New York. OCM BOCES held an official grand opening for its new Innovation Tech high school Wednesday, Sept. 17, at the facility at the Lee G. Peters Career Training Center in Liverpool. Classes began Sept. 3.

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Hawkins: “We’re running to win”

Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins said most New Yorkers are inherently progressive and it's a crime that he's been locked out of the upcoming debates

Vietnam veterans’ organization seeks photos of those killed in war

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund seeks to locate photos of all those killed during the conflict in Vietnam. So far, organizers have collected nearly 34,000 photos of 58,286 casualties. The photos are being displayed on a virtual “Wall of Faces,” which can be found at vvmf.org/Wall-of-Faces.

Help me help the MDA

I need your help to make bail. No, not that kind of bail. I’ve never been arrested. But I am going to “jail.” I’ve been recruited to help the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) with their annual Lock-Up fundraiser. Such events occur nationwide all year long. Business owners and community leaders (and, apparently, weekly newspaper reporters) agree to be “put behind bars for good.” We’re asked to raise money from friends, family, co-workers and, in your case, readers to help make “bail,” which will then benefit the MDA’s research, medical clinics and summer camp experiences.

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Camp Good Days flooded out

Heavy rains in Western New York have done significant damage to a camp that provides a respite for kids and young adults touched by cancer. Camp Good Days and Special Times in Branchport experienced more than $160,000 in damages in last week’s floods in and around Penn Yan, in Yates County, and that number is expected to climb as workers continue to assess the camp. The damage was so catastrophic that the camp has had to cancel its first sessions of the spring.

Eagle editors honored

Editors at Eagle Newspapers were honored for their work at two recent awards ceremonies that celebrate the best journalism in Central New York and statewide.

OCC child care faces cuts

Community college students may soon have a harder time finding child care while they go to school. In his 2014-15 executive budget proposal, Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed cutting $653,000 from the state’s operating grant to the State University of New York’s child care centers. The cut would come in addition to a reduction in the federal Child Care Block Grant, which subsidizes care for children of needy student-parents. While the New York State Senate restored Cuomo’s cut in their budget proposal, advocates say the cuts faced by SUNY centers in the last several years are still devastating and need to be restored. And it’s community colleges that will likely see the most damaging consequences.

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As testing regulations increase, more and more parents choose to homeschool their children

As controversies over Common Core and mandated standardized tests become more and more prevalent, many parents are choosing a new option in educating their children: homeschooling. Once the sole province of the very religious, homeschooling is becoming more popular every day, with a growth rate of 7 to 15 percent per year. Nationwide, about 2 million children learn at home instead of in a brick-and-mortar school, up from about 1 million in 2003. According to the U.S. Department of Education, about 88 percent of U.S. homeschool parents express concern about the school environment, citing drugs, negative peer pressure and general safety.

Syracuse Press Club to award $2,000 scholarship

The 2014 DeVesty-Williams Scholarship will be awarded in early May by members of the Syracuse Press Club at its annual awards banquet. This $2,000 scholarship will be given to one full-time undergraduate student, who is majoring in print or broadcast journalism at a college/university in the Syracuse Press Club service area. The student scholarship recipient also must be a permanent resident of one of the following counties: Onondaga, Madison, Cortland, Cayuga, Oswego, Jefferson, St. Lawrence, Lewis, Herkimer, Oneida, Otsego, Delaware, Chenango, Broome, Tioga, Chemung, Tompkins, Wayne, Seneca, Schuyler and Yates. A student’s college residence is not considered a permanent residence. All students who fit the above criteria are encouraged to apply.

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Team Believe raises money for area charities through running

Running a 10-mile race is a tremendous challenge. But if you’ve got the right motivation, those 10 miles can feel like nothing at all. That’s the idea behind Team Believe, a grassroots organization that brings together local runners to help the Central New York community. The group, which got its start in 2009, asks participants to help raise money for local children’s charities while training for the Dunn Tire Mountain Goat Run in Syracuse in May.

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CNY SBA to hold forum on schools’ fiscal crisis Feb. 4, 5

School districts in Central New York and beyond are in trouble, and it’s time we do something about it. That’s the message behind a pair of forums to be held Feb. 4 and 5 in Auburn and North Syracuse by the Central New York School Boards Association (CNY SBA) in conjunction with the Onondaga-Cortland-Madison, Cayuga-Onondaga, Tompkins-Seneca-Tioga and Oswego County BOCES. The forums, which will take place at Auburn West Middle School and North Syracuse Junior High School, respectively, will focus on the major factors causing those financial issues and how school administrators, teachers and community members can make a difference.

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Friends of Poke-O seek funds for Ranger Trail

Friends of Mount Poke-O-Moonshine have started a fund raiser called, “Sum(m)it Up for Poke-O,” focused on making needed repairs and renovations to the Ranger Trail, a steep, one mile path leading to the top of the mountain located in the Taylor Pond Wild Forest area.

Kicking off the New Year right

It is that time of year again — time to “set New Year’s resolutions,” “get in shape,” “work on the waist line,” “go on a diet,” “start fresh,” whatever you want to call it, most people feel the need to reevaluate their habits in January after all the holiday hoopla is over. Usually diet and exercise habits rank high on the list of “needs improvement.” On Jan. 1 (or maybe Jan. 2), the “hard core dieters” and the “gung-ho gym members” begin their quest. They sweat, grunt, groan, “give up carbs” and step on the scale every day. A month later, most of them find themselves exhausted, sore, injured, hungry, deprived, miserable and frustrated (maybe even a few other adjectives). They may or may not be in better shape or weigh less. If you plan on trying this approach, please reconsider. If you want long lasting success and really want to feel better emotionally and physically, please try this approach…

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Give local: Help a local charity this holiday season

’Tis the season of giving, and you needn’t look too far to find a worthy recipient for your time and financial donations. Central New York has a wealth of deserving organizations doing good, and they’re all in need of your support. To get you started, here’s an A-to-Z primer (minus X), complete with a description of each along with websites, contact information and basic needs. Remember, these are just a few of the many deserving nonprofits in Central New York, and the introductions offered barely scratch the surface of the services they offer. Check out the websites of these organizations for more information. Got your own favorites? Feel free to share at Facebook.com/eaglestarreview.

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Childhood friend launches fundraiser for family of woman killed in Liverpool crash

A childhood friend of the woman killed Sunday afternoon on Route 57 has launched a fundraiser to help her family pay their medical expenses and funeral costs.

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LHS junior conducting toy drive for Rescue Mission

Amanda Hebblethwaite was literally woken from a sound sleep one night by a drive to help others. “I woke up in the middle of the night one night and thought about how awful it would be not to be able to have your parents be able to give you gifts for Christmas,” Hebblethwaite said. “The next morning I talked to my mom about it, and she suggested I start a donation drive for some place like the Rescue Mission.” Hebblethwaite ended doing just that. The Liverpool High School junior is conducting a toy drive for the Rescue Mission, collecting new and gently used toys for children in need.

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Becoming Drew: CNY family discusses coming to terms with son’s transgender journey

For 15 years, Terri and Vince Cook thought they had a daughter. But as they watched their child change from the vibrant, happy kid they’d always known to a withdrawn, depressed and ultimately suicidal teen, they knew something was very wrong. “We’d been through the hard teenage years with [our older son], and we’d seen this,” Terri Cook said. “This was different. This was someone who was just struggling and nobody could figure out why.” It took years of turmoil before the Cooks could determine the root of the problem: Drew Cook was transgender, which meant that although he was physically female, he identified mentally and emotionally as a male.

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