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Community ice bucket challenge

Challenge issued to entire community to raise awareness for ALS

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Sharkey’s to host country music festival for Clear Path for Veterans

Too often, veterans returning home from combat zones aren’t getting the support they need. That’s especially true if they suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), an often silent disability triggered by a traumatic event. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event. While PTSD can happen to anyone who has experienced trauma, it’s particularly common in veterans; while it occurs in approximately 7 to 8 percent of the general population, 11 to 20 percent of Afghanistan or Iraq vets, 10 percent of Gulf War vets and 30 percent of Vietnam vets suffer from PTSD. In order to support these veterans, a group of volunteers has organized a benefit called the Victory for Vets Country Music Festival to take place Aug. 16 at Sharkey’s in Liverpool. The proceeds from the event will go to Clear Path for Veterans, a nonprofit based in Chittenango that provides support for returning veterans, including peer-to-peer support, classes, service dogs and more.

On the campaign trail: Maffei releases first TV ad

Congressman Dan Maffei (D-Syracuse) has released his first television campaign ad, sparking sharp criticism from the opposition. Maffei’s ad, a 30-second spot entitled “Hard Work,” features the congressman visiting with small businessmen and –women, chatting with senior citizens and posing with his family. The ad asserts that Maffei, too, is sick of Congressional gridlock and perks and is working hard to get rid of them.

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Syracuse Crunch raises funds for Red Cross Disaster Relief

Donation sparked by Smithfield tornado and East Syracuse storm damage

In the wake of the tornado and severe storms that hit Central New York on July 8, the Syracuse Crunch recently raised more than $1,000 for the American Red Cross through a jersey auction fundraiser. The money raised will go to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which will be used to help provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance for victims of future disasters.

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Howie Hawkins challenges Cuomo, Astorino in gubernatorial race

Howie Hawkins is hoping to change the political landscape of New York state. “If you do public polling, the majority is very progressive on economic issues, but they never get what they want,” Hawkins said. “A study just came out, the oligarchy study, looked at 1,799 federal issues. They went to the top 10 percent. Any time [the top 10 percent] wanted one thing and the 90 percent wanted the other, of course, they got their way on every issue there was conflict. This goes back to 1979. That tells you. They say, is this a democracy or a plutocracy or an oligarchy? And I think it is [an oligarchy] until we organize a party that can speak for the majority of the people. That’s been the thing that I think we need to do, what we’re trying to do.” That’s why Hawkins is running for governor, taking on the Democratic political establishment and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, as well as his Republican challenger, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.

On the campaign trail: Katko named Republican ‘Young Gun’

Congressional candidate John Katko has earned the status of “Young Gun” from the National Republican Congressional Committee after reaching the third and final tier of the group’s recruitment program. Founded in the 2007-08 election cycle by Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the Young Guns program provides financial support to candidates in races across the country.

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Tornado in Smithfield kills four, Gov. Cuomo visits the scene

The National Weather Service confirmed Wednesday morning that the storm that killed four people in Smithfield Tuesday night was a tornado. The round of severe storms that hit Madison County Tuesday evening caused widespread damage in the towns of Smithfield, Sullivan and Lenox. Hardest hit was Goff Road and Northrup Road in Smithfield, where the tornado came through, completely destroying four residential structures, damaging three residential structures and completely destroying one barn, Madison County Sheriff Allen Riley said during a press conference Wednesday morning.

On the Campaign Trail: Katko calls out Maffei; Kessner backpedals on primary

At a press conference on July 2, Republican Congressional candidate John Katko criticized Democratic opponent Dan Maffei, the incumbent representative for the 24th Congressional District, for his grandiose infrastructure plan as well as his vote against a House measure that encourages oil drilling within the U.S.

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Hart leads Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame inductee list

Golf, basketball, football, journalism all part of Class of 2014

With accomplishments that span the entire second half of the 20th century and the first years of the 21st century, the six newest inductees to the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame provide a wide variety of compelling stories.

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AAGS seeks funding to build low-cost spay/neuter clinic

Every year, more than 1,000 cats and dogs are euthanized purely because the shelters have no place to put them. According to the Animal Alliance of Greater Syracuse (AAGS), an animal welfare agency that serves all of Central New York, the Syracuse area has a higher rate of euthanasia than any other area in Upstate New York. In the meantime, hundreds of homeless pets die on the streets.

LEON Festival to offer free fun, information to keep summer safe for kids

An afternoon and evening of fun and fireworks, featuring a performance by the national singing sensation Kidz Bop, will highlight the LEON Festival to take place from 5 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, June 25 at Onondaga Lake Park. Admission to the event is free. The event celebrates the halfway mark to the winter holidays and the start of summer.

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.

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Skaneateles girls lacrosse wins state Class C title

Wood goal with two seconds left beats Cold Spring Harbor

Molly Wood was kept in check all game long, but broke through when it mattered the most - and delivered the shot that gave the Skaneateles girls lacrosse team its third state Class C championship in program history. Wood's goal with just two seconds to play in regulation, achieved off a mad scramble in front of the net, gave the Lakers a 12-11 victory over Cold Spring Harbor in Saturday's state final at SUNY-Cortland.

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.