Thursday, October 25, 2007

I Ain't Afraid of No G-G-Ghost!

There is something about autumn that lends an air of mystery to our otherwise predictable days. Perhaps it's the change in leaves, the crisp air and the graying skies or maybe it's the anticipation of Halloween that excites us. Starting October 1st, (and probably before that) many are out scrambling for the perfect decorations that will let everyone know they are a true lover of this most sinister holiday. Our doorsteps become adorned in cobwebs and ghostly figures, pumpkins and bats are in high supply. Any other time of year we would shoo away anything that didn't belong, but Halloween allows us all to be bad. Horror movies on TV are plentiful and make-shift haunted houses feed our need for fright, but there are others still who yearn for something more.

And so enters the realm of the paranormal. Now granted, there is no shortage of skepticism in this department and those who seek it understand this. So whether or not you're a believer, central New York has plenty of haunts for brave souls.

The people who call the paranormal their “work” are at it 365 days a year, but you can bet when Halloween rolls around their workload increases. One local group called CNY Ghost Hunters offers a tour of some of central New York's most haunted establishments. Their work is serious and has been met with some recent notoriety for their discovery of an Electronic Voice Recording or EVP recorded in a historic upstate New York hotel which is said to be haunted. The recording (which may be inapropriate for sensitive listeners) is said to be one of the most frightening ever captured and is what founder Stacey Jones describes as "an [unknown] woman say(ing), 'Get off me,' and what sounds like the woman being attacked. The struggle continues for awhile...". Their findings led to an appearance on the Discovery Channel show A Haunting.
To read more on EVP recordings and learn how to do it yourself, you can visit about.com.

If that's a little too intense, the Landmark Theater is said to be haunted by an apparition known as the "lady in white" who supposedly lingers in the balcony. According to the story, a woman named "Clarissa" was attending an event s at the theater back in the 1930's when she fell over the ledge of the balcony and died. This is where the story gets cloudy. Some say Clarissa, or “Claire” as she is also known, fell over the balcony when she was witness to her lover's electricution on the stage below. Still others say Clarissa was an envious actress who jumped off the balcony when she wasn't chosen for a part. In any case her precence is said to be felt most when theater rules are broken or when someone just plain annoys her.

Another place of fable is Cedervale road, or otherwise known as "13 curves" located in Onondaga Hill. Legend has it a newly married couple had been killed in an auto accident about 70 years ago while driving through the treacherous curves. To this day it is said that a woman in a flowing white gown can be seen walking through the woods looking for her bridegroom. A recent blog in the Post Standard inspires thrill seekers to test the roads themselves for the ghostly lady and shares some frightening stories others have experienced.

The city of Syracuse has even expressed an interest with their own haunting tale. In an early press release they announce the story of a ghost which haunts City Hall. According to one worker, the ghost would become mischievious after hours, often by playing in the elevator and walking up and down the staircase.

The ghosts of Beardslee Castle are among central New York's most famous. The hauntings of this historic castle have attracted people from all over the country in hopes they might encounter a ghost or two. Indeed, some have without ever stepping foot inside. In the early 1950's there were reports of strange blue and yellow lights that would linger and float through the woods. Drivers-by described them as trails of light that would fly at cars, in some cases causing accidents, a couple of which were fatal. In the years since the castle reopened after a destructive fire, there have been reports of drivers running off of the clear, straight stretch of road that runs a quarter mile along the front of the castle.
Long before being built, a militant colonial homestead was located on the property. According to lore, Native America Indians infiltrated the homestead carrying torches and located some stored munitions. The fire from their torches ignigted the powder stored there blowing the structure to smithereens. The spirits of the Indians are said to occupy the water now running throughout the castle, fitting a longheld belief that water is a carrier for their souls.
Within the castle walls people have reported an ominous feeling. Since the time the castle was built in 1860, a few people of note had died and are said to roam its halls. According to its collection of ghost stories “the ghost of Mr. Beardslee walks the grounds holding a lantern with a blue light, searching for a lost child who had either drowned in a pond or pool or had been hit by an oncoming train. Many reported seeing the light of the lantern. A grand-daughter of Pop Christensen has reported seeing the lantern floating on its own behind the building”.
If you're particularly gustsy, visit the family's mausoleum at the edge of Beardslee City. Back in the 60's the crypt was a popular hangout and at the time there were reports of strange lights and voices that seem to permiate from the mausoleum. Day or night, this hauntingly gothic castle seems to embody everything needed for a perfect ghost hunt.

So, whether or not you're a seeker of the paranormal or just a seasonal enthusiast, the rich history of central New York has plenty to offer the intrigued who are looking to test their mettle. For those who are more traditional, this site provides a list of Halloween parties and events happening in your area. Happy hunting!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Social Change Is Finding Its Way into the Technology World

Wikipedia, Firefox, OpenOffice. All these programs have something in common. They are considered open source. It’s a phrase that may not mean much to many people, but is becoming increasingly popular in the computer programming community. The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing defines open source as “a method and philosophy for software licensing and distribution designed to encourage use and improvement of software written by volunteers by ensuring that anyone can copy the source code and modify it freely.” The Web site also defines source code as “the form in which a computer program is written by the programmer.” Put simply, the source code is what a programmer writes to make a program run, and open source is when program users are allowed to view and change the source code of that program.

On its Web site, the Open Source Initiative says it was founded in 1998 and is “a non-profit corporation formed to educate about and advocate for the benefits of open source.” The Web site also says open source isn’t just about being able to access a source code. It puts forth ten distribution criteria that a program must meet to be considered open source:

  1. Changed programs must be allowed to freely redistribute the software without royalty or fees to the original developer.
  2. Source code or means of easily obtaining the source code must be distributed with the program.
  3. Modified programs must be allowed to be distributed under the same terms as the original program.
  4. Authors can restrict changes to the original source code if they allow “patch files”, or additions to the source code.
  5. The program must be available to any person or group.
  6. The license can’t restrict to program from being used in a specific field of endeavor, like a business or research group.
  7. The license must extend to everyone the program is distributed to.
  8. The license has to apply to everything being distributed, not just one part.
  9. The license can’t put restrictions on outside software being distributed with the licensed software.
  10. Acceptance of the license must be available to users with various forms of technology.

The Open Source Initiative has its own list of approved licenses that meet these criteria. Open source has become so popular that even Microsoft sought the group’s approval on two new licenses, the Microsoft Public License (Ms-PL) and the Microsoft Reciprocal License (Ms-RL). And in the open source spirit, people posed questions about whether or not the proposed licenses met open source standards. On Friday, October 12th, 2007, the Open Source Initiative Board approved Microsoft’s submissions.

But this method of software development came out of a more philosophical approach to the use of computer programs, known as the Free Software Movement. The Free Software Foundation was established in 1985 and “is dedicated to promoting computer users' rights to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs,” according to its Web site. The group has developed a definition of free software that closely resembles the open source definition. On its Web site, the foundation says free software is not about price, but “users' freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software.” It also says this refers to four kinds of freedom:

  1. The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
  2. The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs (freedom 1).
  3. The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
  4. The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3).

While many of the ideas are the same between the two groups, the Free Software Foundation sees itself as more of a social movement; where as open source is more of practical movement. The foundation also developed its own licensing agreements in order to avoid having people modifying free software, and in turn, prohibiting revisions to the new program. The foundation titled their licensing method copyleft, and even made a symbol for it (image to the left). According to its Web site, the general idea behind copyleft is to make all programs free and require that all modified programs are free also.

The Free Software Foundation extended this license to their biggest project, the GNU operating system (image to the left). The project’s Web site says GNU, pronounced guh-noo, was started to produce a Unix-like free software operating system. The name is even an acronym for “GNU’s Not Unix.” Unix started as an operating system in the early 1970’s, according to the Unix system website.

Software that meets the open source criteria, and many times the free software criteria, can be found on sourceforge.net. According to Alexa.com, the number of visitors to sourceforge.net has been increasing steadily over the past three years. Other more popular open source programs have their websites, like Mozilla.com and OpenOffice.org. And Alexa.com shows that both of the websites have also seen an increase of visitors over the past three years. The open source and free software movements are gaining some ground.

Happiness Can Fall With the Seasons



When you're feeling blue, did you ever think it could be seasonal affective disorder (SAD)? This is a type of depression that is tied to seasons of the year.

Most people with SAD are depressed only during the late fall and winter. There have also been a few cases of people depressed only during the late spring and summer.

The exact causes of SAD are unknown. No laboratory tests are available to detect seasonal affective disorder. Your health care provider will make the diagnosis from your symptoms, medical interview, and examination. Sometimes physical problems can cause depression. But other times, symptoms of SAD are part of a more complex psychiatric problem. Experts think that two specific chemicals in the brain, melatonin and serotonin may be involved in SAD (familydoctor.org). People who live in geographical locations that are dark or cloudy during the winter are most likely to have SAD.

People who suffer from SAD have many of the common signs of depression: sadness, anxiety, irritability, loss of interest in their usual activities, withdrawal from social activities, and inability to concentrate. They often have symptoms such as extreme fatigue and lack of energy, increased need for sleep, craving for carbohydrates, and increased appetite and weight gain.

The Cleveland Clinic Department of Patient Education and Health Center says between 4 and 6 percent of the U.S. population suffers from SAD, while 10 to 20 percent may suffer from a more mild form of winter blues. They also say three-quarters of the sufferers are women, most of whom are in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. SAD is most common during these ages, but it can also occur in children and adolescents. Older adults are less likely to experience SAD.

How can you treat this disorder? The treatments available are antidepressant medication, psychological therapy, and light therapy.

Bupropion also known as Wellbutrin XL was the first drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prevent seasonal affective disorder. But this medication is not very popular. According to MedlinePlus, you may become suicidal towards the beginning of treatment. And you can run into these side effects: drowsiness, excitement, dry mouth, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, and uncontrollable shaking of a body part, weight loss, constipation, and excessive sweating.

Dr. Peter Vanable, Professor at Syracuse University in the Psychology Department says that he feels this disorder is not just in Syracuse its everywhere. He feels that psychological therapy and light therapy are the best forms of treatment. For light therapy you use white fluorescent light tubes covered with a plastic screen to block ultraviolet rays. The intensity of light emitted should be at least 10,000 lux (as compared to a normal light fixture that emits 250 to 500 lux). The patient does not need to look directly into the light, but should do most of their activities while sitting in front of the device but keeping a distance of 2 to 3 feet. Light therapy is safe and generally well tolerated. But with any treatment there can be minor side effects like: eye strain, headache, irritability, fatigue, and insomnia. But if you feel light therapy is too intense maybe you want to look into the litebook.



The Cleveland Clinic Department of Patient Education and Health Center gives some tips on how to prevent it from coming back if you have been previously diagnosed with the disorder:

*Try to spend some amount of time outside every day, even when it's very cloudy. The effects of daylight are still beneficial.
*Begin using a light box upon the onset of low sunlight (fall season), even before you feel the onset of winter SAD.
*Eat a well-balanced diet and include sufficient amounts of vitamins and minerals as recommended by the FDA. This will help you have more energy even though your body is craving starchy and sweet foods.
*Try exercising for 30 minutes a day, three times a week.
*Seek professional counseling, if needed, during the winter months.
*Stay involved with your social circle and regular activities. This can be a tremendous means of support during winter months.

But if you're just feeling a little down during the winter season, Associated Content gives a couple of tips:

*Get plenty of light since the build up of melatonin is the chemical that makes you sleepy. And too much of this chemical can contribute to depression.
*Exercise will fight melatonin.
*Eat right by consuming 200-300 calorie meals throughout the day approximately three hours apart.

Stay active through the upcoming months!

Snoring is not a laughing matter: It can be deadly



We’ve all been woken up or been kept awake by people who snore. Snoring during sleep is a fact of life: it happens and to most people it is annoying. But how many of us have actually thought of snoring as a potentially fatal condition?


Studies have shown that snoring is often times linked with a life-threatening condition called sleep apnea. According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, sleep apnea happens when people stop breathing repeatedly throughout the night. This stoppage in breathing can last for as long as 30 seconds. And when the brain realizes that it needs air, it sends panic signals to the body to wake it up. The Mayo Clinic website has a great video that demonstrates how this happens.


A researcher at Yale says this midnight arousal takes its toll on the body’s nervous system. He even compares it to being woken up at night because a “saber-toothed tiger was chasing you.” And for some people, this arousal can happen up to 30 times an hour. That doesn’t allow for a very worthwhile night’s sleep, which is partly why the effects from sleep apnea can be fatal.


The effects from sleep apnea can be very serious. Because the heart gets over-worked during the night, people with sleep apnea are more prone to have heart attacks and strokes than ordinary people.


A study by a researcher at the University of British Columbia in Canada compared 800 people with sleep apnea to 800 people without it. He found that the people with sleep apnea were five times more likely to get into a serious car accident than the others.

Who is most at risk for sleep apnea

Many websites will tell you that the demographic that is most at risk for sleep apnea is overweight men over the age of 40. But they aren’t the only people that can be affected by this condition. In fact, children and young adults can also be at-risk. If children have over-sized tonsils or adenoids, this can severely block their airway during sleep.


If sleep apnea is gone untreated in children it can lead to many problems. Children can have learning problems, developmental problems, and even a failure to grow. This is on top of the heart problems that it poses for older people with the disorder.

An article in The Post-Standard a couple of months ago talked about how children were becoming heavier. The study said that more and more overweight children are developing diseases and conditions that are normally seen in adults. It cited sleep apnea as one of the conditions that has seen an increase because of overweight children.

Treatments for sleep apnea

Most of the treatments for sleep apnea are quite significant. One of the most common forms of treatment is the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure mask, or CPAP. This mask fits over a person’s nose and mouth and forces air down that person’s throat while they are asleep. Because the air-pressure is continuous, it doesn’t allow for the person’s breathing to get obstructed. A lot of people do not like to wear the mask because it limits their mobility in bed. And depending on how bad one’s apnea is, the air pressure can be quite strong and overpowering. This video on WebMD shows how a subject obtained a CPAP, and how it changed his life.


Other treatments include various types of surgery. Such as: a tonsillectomy if the person’s tonsils are deemed to be oversized by their doctor; nasal surgery to repair a deviated septum, clearing the nose to breathe freely; as well as numerous other surgeries.


There are some over-the-counter aids that have helped some people with less-severe forms of sleep apnea. Many people have noticed that professional athletes wear nasal strips to help them breathe better during the game. These nasal strips have also been known to assist in lowering snoring levels.

Famous People


There have been many famous people to have had sleep apnea. Reggie White is considered by many to be the best defensive lineman to ever play in the NFL. He had sleep apnea and chose not to wear his CPAP. In 2004, he died from a massive heart attack, and the doctors said his sleep apnea played a major role in his death. White helped lead the Green Bay Packers to a Super Bowl title in 1996. And he is also a Hall of Famer.

Other people living with sleep apnea are: Rosie O’Donnell (actress/ talk-show host), William Shatner(actor), Jerry Garcia (actor), Mark Calaveccia (golfer).

Not all snoring is apnea


It must be noted that not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. It is believed by many doctors that between 30 and 50 percent of the population will snore at least once. This can be caused by a variety of reasons.


One reason why people snore and do not necessarily have apnea may be because they drank alcohol before going to bed. Alcohol relaxes the muscles in the back of the throat and that can sometimes cause temporary apnea bursts. Another cause of snoring can be to due to congestion in the nose. If a person has a cold and cannot breathe properly out of their nose, then they’d have to breathe through their mouth. This could create vibrations in the throat causing snoring episodes. If a person tends to sleep on his or her back, it could lead to snoring. To learn more about ways to better your sleep, check out some tips at WebMD.

Conclusion

While not all snoring cases are cause for alarm, friends and family members should use their best judgment in spotting potential sleep apnea cases. If someone’s snoring can consistently be heard throughout the house, it is probably something that should be checked out by a Sleep Doctor. Spotting sleep apnea early will greatly reduce the risk for heart problems and other issues associated with the condition.

Hazardous Hygiene



The food and drug administration, or FDA, is responsible for monitoring the content of what people consume. But in this day and age, when chemicals and toxins seem to be appearing in the most unlikely of places, what the FDA is doing may not be enough. Personal care products, like shampoo, deodorant, and cosmetics contain ingredients that are hazardous to consumers' health. The toxic components can cause a myriad of health problems. For instance, some of these chemicals have been shown to cause cancer, and others may lead to reproductive complications. In small doses these toxins won't cause problems. However, over time people are exposed to these chemicals from multiple sources. It is this combined and lasting exposure that could cause build up of the substances and may have potential to do harm. The FDA does not regulate the production of personal care products. Some of the ingredients, such as the color additives, must be monitored and approved to be used in the products, however, there are no mandatory testing requirements or guidelines for the finished product.


Phthalates

Phthalates, industrial compounds used to give plastics their flexibility, have made their way into countless other products. These compounds have even become a staple in many common personal care products. Phthalates can be found in shampoo, deodorant, nail polish, and perfumes, just to name a few. They have many uses, a few of which are; to keep nail polish from chipping, hairspray from hardening, and fragrances from fading. There have been serious health concerns related to the use of these compounds, however, companies are not required to list phthalates in the ingredients.

The Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Rochester, found that phthalates could be linked to feminization in boys. Researchers showed a correlation between a mother's exposure to phthalates during pregnancy and changes in how male infants genitals developed.

Recently, the use of phthalates in toys for children under three was banned in California. The bill that Governor Schwarzenegger signed prohibits the manufacture, distribution and sale of toys that contain phthalates. According to the groups that sponsored the California movement, other states, including New York, are looking to take similar measures in the coming months.

Phthalates' potential side effects reach far beyond the reproductive system. Over the past several decades, allergies have been worsening in the developed world, despite an improvement in air quality. This observation prompted researchers to investigate other environmental factors, such as chemicals, that could be causing this increase. A study done by the Environmental Health Sciences Division at the National Institute for Environmental Studies, examined whether or not phthalates intensify allergic reactions. The results led researchers to believe that phthalates could be responsible for the rise in allergic reactions. Despite the negative findings and the desire to ban these toxins in toys, they are still being used in products that are applied directly to the skin.


Lead

Phalates are not the only harmful substance consumers should be aware of. Other toxins, like lead, can be found in cosmetics. Lead is a neurotoxin, which is not broken down by the body. This toxin builds up over time. Lead exposure can cause learning and behavioral problems, infertility, and miscarriage. Earlier this month, the results of an independent study done by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, showed that lead is present in several different brands of lipstick. Researchers tested 33 popular lipsticks, and detected lead in over half. One third of those tested had lead levels that exceeded the FDA's lead limit for candy.


Consumer Resources

Not every personal care product contains toxins. The presence and levels of chemicals vary between brands, lines, and even colors. Because the FDA does not regulate cosmetics and personal care products, it is up to consumers to educate themselves and monitor product ingredients. There are tools that may help people to do this. There is a consumer database, called Skin Deep, that rates the safety of products. Consumers can search for the products that they use, or browse the database by category. Each product is rated on a scale from one to ten, ten being the most hazardous. The product is then broken down, and the exact dangers are identified.

Some companies' products are safer to use than others. In an effort to foster a safer industry, many companies are complying with the stricter guidelines set by the European Union. Although there have only been nine cosmetic ingredients banned by the United States, over 1,000 have been prohibited in Europe. Complying with these regulations allows companies to sell the same merchandise worldwide, as well as providing a safer product for consumers.

The Compact for Global Production of Safe Health & Beauty Products, is an agreement that companies may voluntarily sign. By signing this agreement, companies pledge to reformulate globally to meet E.U. standards (European Standards). Several companies signed this document, and agreed not to use chemicals that may cause birth defects, or could be carcinogens. These companies have pledged to find alternative ingredients to use in their products. Although hundreds of companies have signed this agreement, many prominent corporations have not. Among those that refuse to sign are, OPI, Avon, Estee Lauder, L'Oreal, Revlon and Proctor and Gamble.

For more information on regulations and standards, consumers can visit the FDA's website. There is a page dedicated to cosmetic safety, and the regulations put on some of the components and additives. Guidelines for product labeling, animal testing, and some ingredient requirements are given as well. Information regarding the FDA's policies and authority in regard to cosmetics is also available.

Just How Friendly IS This Act?










Who's paying attention to a movie screen 30,000 feet above sea level? How much does it matter what's being shown? According to Jesse Kalisher and many other parents, the answer is their kids, and a lot.

Both the New York Times and MSNBC wrote the story. Kalisher was flying with his kids when the 2005 version of King Kong appeared on the movie screen. The film is rated by the motion picture association to be PG-13, which means parents should be strongly cautioned their kids may not be able to handle what's on-screen.



Although Kalisher's kids were asleep, he was worried that if they HAD been awake they would have been quite disturbed by the images they saw on the big screen. He thought movies with violence should not be allowed on flights where kids could see them. When the plane landed, Kalisher swung into action. He contacted other parents whom he felt would feel the same. Together, they tried to persuade airlines with publicly viewable screens to stop showing movies that are unsuitable for children, meaning anything that wasn't a G or PG, or TV shows rated TV-G.


Kalisher was quoted in MSNBC as saying, "Airlines have the choice to show whatever they want, but as parents we have the responsibility to protect our kids from images of murder, torture and death.”


The airlines, however, weren't moved by this parent's quest to find his children friendlier airwaves. The Air Transport Association and the World Airline Entertainment Association were both unwilling to make changes. According to the New York Times article, federal broadcasting laws do not apply to in-flight entertainment, and airlines do not have to follow motion picture ratings. Also, the airlines have a responsibility to ever passenger on board, not just the ones with children.


After the airplane industry didn't take much interest, Kalisher and other parents took their mission one step forward. On September 25th, 2007, Two North Carolina Representatives: Heath Shuler, a Democrat, and Walter Jones, a Republican, introduced a piece of federal legislation known as the Family Friendly Flight Act. This legislation would require all flights showing movies that are deemed unsuitable for children to offer separate seating for families.

According to the website of these parents, "The bill introduced in The U.S. House of Representatives in September has no effect whatsoever on which films the airlines show on personal screens. It also has no effect on the seating configuration for planes that don't have publicly viewable (or overhead) screens. Further, it has no impact on flights with overhead screens when the films shown are rated G or PG and the television content is rated TV-G. The FFFA does require airlines to create a section on the aircraft where kids won't be exposed to the media content when there is a) an overhead or publicly viewable screen and b) the film show is rated PG-13 or R and/or the television content is rated TV-MA (for mature audiences)."


Although this paragraph stresses the seating plans of planes would not have to change it seems the only two options that would seemingly work to ensure that families with children would be able to avoid violent movies. Either a) have a separate section on a plane where the screen can't be seen-i.e. similar to a first class or business section of a plane or b) have individual-sized monitors on the back of each person's seat. Many flights have started to offer the latter, not in accordance with this act but rather because of convenience of their customers.


Not only that, but how often would an entire family section be able to fill up with strictly families? Other, non-kid holding people would be at times forced to sit in these sections. Several bloggers on the subject referenced their inability to sit next to screaming kids on a flight, labeling that the real tragedy on a plane.


Others have cited concern that any step towards controlling what goes on-screen WILL have an affect on the First Amendment rights of people-even if inadvertently. This particular blogger worried that such rules might soon extend to bars and restaurants.


Some bloggers, who have kids but don't think that a law should be passed about issues like this, think there are other viable options in protecting the safety of their children. Adam D. Thierer is one of them. He agrees that constitutional challenges to this proposed act would follow any efforts to set it into motion. Thierer offers a list of alternatives to this plan.

1) Renting or bringing a portable DVD player and headphones so that your kids can watch the programming you want them to, without disturbing others. (side note: The parents who want The Family Friendly Flight Act passed also advocate that not only should a child NOT be subjected to watching anything that could be jeopardizing on the big screen, but that if a person next to them is watching an individual screen (such as their own DVD player) that this should be kid-friendly as well.)
2) The individual screens on the backs of seats, with a privacy film over the screens so in case children are sitting next to a passenger, the children would be unable to view what is being shown. This film is already prevalent on laptops for privacy so that people watching at an angle other than straight on would not be able to see the screen clearly and properly.
3) Airplanes could voluntarily offer the kind of seating asked by the Congressmen in the first place.

Although there are many mixed opinions on the subject, another fact that people are forgetting is that movies already come to the plane's "big screen" edited for content. Any sex scenes or other graphic scenes are taken out, such as they would be for a television station. Many parents still feel that this isn't enough, and the violence is not nearly edited down enough. The New York Times cited the movie "Fracture," where Anthony Hopkins shoots his wife in the face. On the airplanes, they don't show the actual shot, but passengers do see him shoot and the blood on the head. Arguably, this may not be enough.


So what is the answer? Cleaner airwaves would make some happy, but others uncomfortable, for varying reasons. There's no easy way to accommodate everyone, but as for now it seems any bit of compromise is best in order to make sure people get their money's worth. That's really the bottom line: people who pay for a flight should get what they pay for.

The Risk of Injury in Sports

An estimated seven-million Americans seek some medical attention for a sports-related injury every year. According to ESPN.com there are currently 134 injured NFL players, 47 injured NBA players and 228 injured NHL players. In Division I college football Syracuse University only has five injured players compared to UCLA, who has the most injuries with 12. These numbers are reflective of a harsh reality; sports-related injuries.

Lately, there has been a lot of focus on head injuries and concussions. From Trent Green's possible season ending concussion, to local news stories reporting on injuries in high school football and girls soccer, concussion knowledge is increasing. The NCAA surveillance showed that concussion rates have increased around seven percent annually since 1989. This increase reflects improvements in identification of injuries in athletes. A concussion occurs when the head is hit so hard that the brain knocks against the skull causing a tearing of nerve fibers. The short-term effects include headache, dizziness, blurred vision, confusion, memory loss and nausea.

But, concussions can be far more serious than just a headache. Young athletes with at least one concussion performed significantly worse on learning and memory tests than their teammates with no concussions. According to a New York Times report, at least 50 high school or youth football players have died in the past ten years from sports-related head injuries. California has had the most deaths with eleven, while New York has had none. Young players seem to be bearing the brunt of the serious head injuries. The Center for Disease Control found that from 2001 to 2005, 60 percent of those treated for a sports-related traumatic head injury were five to 18 years of age.

Ohio State University researchers studied high school and collegiate football injuries during the 2005-2006 season, and found that high school players sustained more concussions than those at the college level. Another study found similar results, concluding that head injuries are three times more common in high school football players than collegiate players possibly because their brains are younger and more susceptible to injury. Dr. Eugene Hong M.D. of Drexel University said that high school players are more likely than college players to sustain a concussion because their helmets don’t fit properly. “While professional and college teams have people trained in how to properly fit an athlete with a helmet, most high school and youth programs do not,” he said. Not only do college and professional teams have better fitting helmets, they also have more access to trainers whose job it is to spot injuries like concussions. The New York Times reported that according to the National Athletic Trainers Association only 42 percent of high schools in the United States have access to a certified athletic trainer. Without proper medical attention, an already at risk age group is more likely to sustain these serious head injuries.

The prominence of concussions in NFL athletes like Steve Young and now Trent Green, has led the public to believe that football has the highest concussion rate, but this is not true. In a study of Concussion Incidence, ice hockey had the highest rate of concussions among high school males. The lowest incidence was men's high school soccer.

A more specific study of youth ice hockey, lacrosse and field hockey, showed that from 1990 to 2003 an estimated three percent of all injuries were concussions. Younger players, age two to nine were more likely to sustain a head injury but the study also found that as the amount of protective gear increases with age the head injury rates increase. This conclusion is supported by the finding that ice hockey players sustained more head injuries than lacrosse and field hockey players, who wear less protective gear. But sometimes less protective gear can mean a greater increase in concussion rates. In rugby, which has no protective equipment and a lot of contact, eleven percent of all injuries were head injuries. And as in football, players 18 years and younger sustained more concussions than adults. As mentioned previously, the higher concussion rate for children and teens in any sport can be attributed to brain development and a lack of athletic trainers to recognize possible head trauma.

While head injuries like concussions are the most serious sports-related injuries, they are not the most prevalent. In 2005, 58 percent of high school sports injuries were to the lower extremities: the knees, ankles and feet. Ankle injuries were the most common, resulting in 40 percent of all lower extremity injuries. Most ankle injuries are ligament sprains where the ligaments that connect bones and muscles are stretched to their limit or torn when the ankle makes an awkward movement.

Sprains/strains accounted for 21 percent of injured youth ice hockey, lacrosse and field hockey players. According to one study, ankle injuries are the most common in both boys and girls basketball due to the quick changes in direction. Knee injuries are the second most common injury among athletes. Knee injuries account for 25 percent of all lower extremity injuries. Almost 13 percent of injuries sustained by female rugby players are to the knees. Sports rely heavily on the legs, therefore they are at a greater risk for injury.

Even though concussions are not the most common form of injury and the highest occurrence of concussions is not in football, football is still the rough and tough sport people claim it to be. Studies have shown football has the most injury occurrences of any sport. At the collegiate level 35.9 injuries occur for every 1,000 athletes exposed. Football has the most lower extremity injuries among all boys sports and the third most ankle specific injuries after boys and girls basketball. Football is still one of the roughest sports out there.

Study after study has found that sports-related injuries are very common and can be very serious. But, with the known health benefits of physical activity are people taking an even greater risk by not getting in the game at all?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Millennial Generation Explored- Reed





The new generation of journalists and other young professionals (part of the Millennial Generation) have different attitudes towards work and life than past ones did, and their bosses need to know what attracts and motivates them.
The Millennial Generation is people born in 1982 and later. With a lot of them graduating college and entering the workforce, they bring their upbringing with them. Molly Epstein is an associate professor of business at Emory University in Atlanta and “describes the working Millennials as employees who see themselves as special, with an expectation of individual attention for the work done in the course of each day” (RTNDA).
Parents may be the cause of this. The so-called “helicopter parents” hovered over their kids, which resulted them to expect close relationships with elders. But their bosses may see this as the Millennials being needy and they may not be receptive to having a mentoring relationship.
Dale Dauten, of The Boston Globe, writes “it's nobody's fault but ours, the boomers. We're the ones who were squealing with delight if the kid drew an egg. We were the ones who said, "Johnny tried, and that's what counts."
For young journalists, the issue of money also comes up. Unfortunately, the starting pay in Broadcast Journalism is often low and they have no choice but to adjust to that or to look at other fields that pay more, like Public Relations.
Young journalists are also criticized for feeling that a degree is all they need. Furthermore, Dave Vincent, who has more than 20 years of news management experience, says he doesn’t “see enough people who really are as curious as I would like” (RTNDA). This is important because passion and curiosity are hard to teach. In the end, Millennials look at journalism as a job. And the bottom line is that the older generation runs the newsrooms and are worried that their “next-in-line’s” are too dependent on others.

There are some things news managers can do in leading the younger generation:

1. Develop a personal relationship with them because once you do that they will be loyal to you.
2. Evaluate them often, and always start with a positive.
3. Stations should set up clear rules by which the Millennials can go by to do daily tasks.

Employers can also try to connect with the Millennial’s parents. Millennials are more reliant on their parents for advice even as adults than previous generations and this gesture can win over a young worker.


These are some of the traits of the Millennial generation, according to NASA:

· Lacks trust in corporations
· Focuses on personal success
· Has a short-term career perspective
· Is quickly bored
· Is team oriented
· Builds community
· Sees no clear boundary between work and life in general
· Is socially responsible
· Will sacrifice economic rewards for work–life balance
· Expects to work anytime, anyplace

“According to a 2006 SHRM report, 75 percent of executives and HR managers said that recent four-year college graduates displayed only “adequate” professionalism and work ethic, creativity and innovation, and critical thinking and problem-solving. Only 25 percent reported an “excellent” display of those traits in recent college graduates” (Job Blog).
But the Millennials have some great qualities, like their proficiency with technology. According to Tim Irwin, a corporate psychologist and author, “They are going to be one of the most creative and productive generations in history. I am predicting great things and smart companies are going to be hiring the best of them,” (Generation Y Blog). (Ironically, young journalists are often surprised to find newsrooms with technology that is worse than their college’s). Companies like NASA are trying to ready themselves for the new generation as baby boomers retire. Also, by being so immersed in technology, Millennials have become oblivious to those around them at any given time. Constantly multitasking while someone else is sitting in the room may seem rude now but once they are in positions of power it probably won’t be.
According to Syndicated Columnist Judith Martin, "Young people care deeply about the norms and practices of their contemporaries". They just don't understand "that the standards of adults affect them" (USA Today).
Some myths about the Millennials are that they have no work ethic and respect for authority, but the Millennials do get work done, they just won’t look to do something else after completing the task unless told so.
For them, respect must be earned but when it is, it is reciprocated intensely. The Millennials also live in the now, so talk of promotions in the future seems hollow to them.
Today’s generation is more focused on white-collar jobs than physical labor, perhaps because their parents pushed them to go to college so much.
The Millennials also tend to not want to do entry-level work. There are two sides to this: it shows they are motivated to do something meaningful but the reality is that people have to pay their dues first to get ahead in the real world. Another thing is that school may not adequately prepare them for that world.
“Suddenly, the tenets of success we've followed since kindergarten don't apply, because getting ahead in the business world often has nothing to do with intelligence or exceeding a set of defined expectations” (NPR). Some of the things Millennials can do is seek out professional relationships, develop a marketable persona, and acquire skills that will be useful in other places.
There are also some disturbing stats regarding Millennials’ mental health. “The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in 2003, 27.4% of twelfth-graders "felt so sad/hopeless almost every day for the past 2+ weeks that stopped usual activities." And a startling 6.1% had attempted suicide in the past 12 months (with 1/3 of these requiring medical attention for a suicide attempt).”

The Millennials will at some point be executives, news directors, and even top government officials. They have to work together with the current generation in charge to get the experience they will need when it’s their turn to lead.

Syracuse Football- It's All In the Recruiting--Seal









Syracuse head football coach Greg Robinson has very little job security after nearly three years on the job. During his tenure, the Orange have had an abysmal overall record of 7 wins and 24 losses. The Orange have had an even worse record within the Big East Conference with 2 wins and 15 losses. The way Robinson can get this program to win can be summed up in one word: recruiting. A good class of incoming football players can get fans and current players excited about upcoming seasons. Recruiting is the lifeblood of any college football program, and recently the Orange have been bleeding to death.

It would be ridiculous to expect Coach Robinson to sign a tremendous collection of players when Syracuse lacks the recent winning tradition to attract a top-ranked recruiting class. Coach Robinson, however, needs to take baby steps towards signing a top ranked class in the future. He could first start the Syracuse recruiting process by protecting the Orange’s home state of New York. Over the past few years, top recruits have been signed out of New York by multiple rival schools.

You may argue that Syracuse does not have the ability to keep top recruits from signing with tradition-rich football schools like Michigan, Notre Dame and Penn State; but schools such as Pittsburgh, Maryland, Rutgers, Boston College, North Carolina, and Michigan State have been able to sign football prospects out from under Coach Robinson’s nose.

Over the past two years there have been between 13-15 top football prospects to come out of New York, according to professional recruiting websites such as Scout.com and Rivals.com. Of these prospects, less than half stayed in their home state of New York. If Robinson could sign the majority of these prospects, they could form a foundation on which to build a winning Syracuse program. It won’t be easy, but it is a reasonable goal to help the Orange climb back up to college football respectability.

According to recruiting sites, there are 7 or 8 good high school football prospects coming out of New York this year. If coach Robinson can sign 5 of them, he will have a solid recruiting class to infuse into the Syracuse football program.

These are some of the top New York state prospects Coach Robinson should target in upcoming recruiting class:

Averin Collier- Churchville, New York: Collier is a running back who has tremendous lower body strength and is known for his vision and balance. Collier could be a lost cause because he has a brother who already plays for the Pittsburgh Panthers, but perhaps he can be convinced to go to a school where he can create his own identity.

Marcus Sales- Syracuse, New York: Sales is a must-have for Robinson because he plays in Syracuse. There is no excuse to let a recruit leave your own backyard. Sales is a big, fast wide receiver who can stretch the field and is always a threat to score.

Scott Vallone- Islip, New York: Vallone has already verbally committed to Rutgers, but many recruits have changed their minds in the past. Vallone is a defensive lineman who has a quick burst and can get off the ball quickly to cause havoc in the offensive backfield.

Latavius Murray- Nedrow, New York: Justin Udo has already discussed Murray on this blogsite. Murray plays running back in high school, but he is big enough (6’4”) to become a linebacker at the college level.

Khalif Staten- Brooklyn, New York: Staten is a tall wide receiver (6’3”) who could be a tremendous endzone threat because he can out-jump defenders for the ball.

DeAndre Preaster- Utica, New York: Preaster is a tremendous athlete with ideal size and speed to play in the offensive or defensive backfield. He doesn’t play a particular position and has enough versatility that the Orange can use him wherever they need help.

Devon Watkis- Middle Island, New York: Watkins is a gigantic (6’8”) offensive lineman. He would add much-needed beef to the Syracuse line. His size would help him open up running lanes while his long arms would help push away defenders during pass protection. Watkins is another prospect who has given a verbal commitment to Rutgers, but as I said before, recruits sometimes change their minds.

Coach Robinson, however, cannot simply look at gathering homegrown prospects for 2008. He must keep up with future New York prospects as well. The following are players who will be football recruits in 2009. Staying in communication with them is a must in order for Syracuse to secure a good recruiting class in the future:

Andre Civil- Brooklyn, New York: Civil is a tall defensive end who could eventually provide a much-needed pass rush for the Syracuse defense. Coaches should stay in constant contact with this guy because he’s a top prospect in the nation and since he plays right across the Hudson River from New Jersey, Rutgers is hot on his trail.

Shayne Skov- Pawling, New York: Skov is probably going to play defensive back in college, but he’s big enough at 6’2” to put on some weight and become an athletic linebacker that the Orange so desperately need. Alas, Skov may feel homesick for his birthplace of San Francisco because he’s already verbally committed to Stanford.

Tommy Pizzurro- New Rochelle, New York: If there is one area critics of the Syracuse football team have been harping on this year it’s the offensive line. Current quarterback Andrew Robinson has been hit far too many times this year. Signing Pizzurro would be a step in the right direction for the Orange to solidify the offensive line.

Recruiting only in New York will not turn the Syracuse Orange into a football powerhouse, but it’s a place to start. If the Syracuse coaching staff can effectively seal off the state of New York from out of state college recruiters, then maybe they can begin to rebuild the Orange back into a nationally respected football team.



Fall Fashion 101

It’s not often people are still wearing shorts and t-shirts come October here in Syracuse. But this season’s unusually warm weather has kept many people from shopping for their winter wardrobes. Does that include you? Have no fear… here is your guide to fall fashion, to keep you looking hot all winter.

Men
This winter, the guys need to keep one word in mind: tailored. For casual and professional looks, if your outfit is tailored, you’re already on your way to looking great. For work, try finding a medium-shade gray suit. Experts say gray is a great alternative to black suits this fall, and it looks great with white, light blue, or light pink shirts. Gray is especially flattering for men with lighter skin tones.

Looking for a way to lighten up your formal wear? Andy Samberg from Saturday Night Live tried out a new look for Men’s Health magazine… pairing a yellow vest with his navy suit. Experts say vests are making a comeback this season, so if you’re up for being a trendsetter, try it out! Samberg also had this fashion advice for men, “The new way to rock a suit is with sneakers. That’s how artists and cool people get away with dressing up and not looking lame.”

Going for a business-casual look? Ditch the jacket and try a blue and white striped dress shirt. Then play around with modern ties for a fun but still formal look. And guys, an important note about dress shirts: think about getting new white dress shirts every year. They should always be crisp and clean, so experts suggest replacing them often, since they show wear easily.

And for the weekend? Cotton sweaters and mock turtlenecks are a great casual look. But this season, it’s all about flare: try a patterned shirt or a different fabric like silk to add a touch of fall fabulous to your outfit. Also big for men this season is the ski look: puffy down vests and jackets, warm sweaters, and ski-themed graphic tees (for the younger men out there). The ski look is especially great in reds, whites, and blacks.

Not up for the themed outfits? Stick with your basic casual clothes, but go green! Green is a big color for men’s casual wear this season. The experts at Men.Style.com say tailored, patterned sweaters in shades of green are near-universally flattering. Also in this season: denim and layering basics. Experts say thin knits and t-shirts are classic, and they can be mixed-and-matched to create lots of unique looks.

Finally, accessories. That’s right, this season, accessories aren’t just for the ladies. Bold accessories are in… so look for standout items that will spice up any outfit. Examples: a large, patterned tie to add flare to a business suit; argyle socks to flash up your footwear; or, for a younger, more artsy look, try pairing red sneakers with a suit. One accessory warning: if you feel the need to wear a watch, make sure it doesn’t draw attention away from your outfit as a whole. Experts at GQ magazine say men’s watches should fit under the cuff of a dress shirt.

Women
For women this season, anything goes. There have been a variety of looks appearing on runways and in fashion magazines, all of which could definitely catch on here in Syracuse.

This season, women’s fashions are more formal than usual, making it easy to transition from work to a night on the town. Neutral colors are great for a sophisticated work look, and just like in men’s fashion, this season gray is taking off. Elle magazine’s coverage of New York fashion week shows that shades of gray, neutral colors, and masculine pieces are among designers’ top styles. (Note: for a Vogue editor's overview of Fall's styles, check out this video!)

Even so, this season’s color palette for women’s clothing is surprisingly varied. While neutrals are favored for a more professional appearance, bright colors make outfits more playful. Celebrities like Eva Longoria and Jessica Alba have been spotted wearing eye-catching bright colors.
Black and white combinations are also a stylish way to go this season. Celebrities in New York, Los Angeles, and London have been spotted with black and white cap-toe pumps and black and white dresses. Actually, a safe style bet this season is pretty much any type of dress. For a subdued yet stylish work outfit, try a belted sweaterdress. For a more attention-grabbing look, try a minidress in a bright color like hot pink, silver, or turquoise. Minidresses with flowy fabrics or jeweled necklines are flirty but sophisticated enough to wear to holiday parties.

Not much of a dress person? Add accessories like a patent leather handbag, purple pumps, or a chunky metallic necklace to add a touch of style to a casual outfit. And an easy outfit fix this season is… a belt! High and low-end retailers are featuring an array of belts this season, bound to look great with any outfit, casual or formal.

Other easy accessories for women: colorful bangles and oversized jeweled cocktail rings. And, perfect for the cold Syracuse weather bound to hit soon, vintage hats are back this year, as is fur. So feel free to break out those cozy knit sweaters, throw on a belt and a vintage hat, and head out into the (eventual) snowy weather in style.

So where do I begin?
Suddenly I’m sensing cries of “Help me, oh fashion guru! How am I supposed to find these high-fashion looks here in Syracuse?” Not to worry. There are plenty of stores locally that stock this season’s best fashions—many at affordable prices. For men and women, check out Old Navy. They offer inexpensive sweaterdresses and work looks for women; while providing a wide selection of layered looks for men.

Other alternatives? Shop from home using fashion-forward websites. A great one for women is shopbop.com, which tracks the latest fashions and allows you to search by brand and style. Men and women will find the top styles at affordable prices at Express, and well-known designers (for a slightly higher price) at Bluefly.

And remember: while trends will come and go, it’s important to develop your own personal sense of style that will keep you looking and feeling great year after year. So try out some of this season’s new looks, but most importantly, have FUN with your fashion!

Picking Sides


I played the piano for seven or eight years. Every piano lesson I went to was like pulling teeth. My mother sacrificed a lot and tried to convince me these lessons would pay off and make me a well-rounded person. To this day all I can play on the piano is Mary Had a Little Lamb. Like many people my age that I know, our instruments just didn’t seem hip and cool. Little did I know how responsible these instruments were for the music I listened to.


While rummaging through You-Tube.com I found David Sides. He made me wish I didn’t waste those countless amounts of lessons and countless amount of dollars.
Sides plays the piano. The twenty three year old from California has been playing the piano for ten years. Sides says he taught himself how to play the piano, and says he first started playing pop-culture songs after listening to the Lion King soundtrack.

The University of California-Riverside grad, plays songs that a young audience likes and can appreciate, from Coldplays The Scientist (which is played on piano, he plays the bass line and melody) to T-Pains Buy You a Drink. I always heard the piano played in plays and classical music. Until I heard recent artist like John Legend and Alicia Keys, I never really saw the piano in the forefront of popular music.
Sides plays his own music, but the biggest difference between what he does and what Keys and Legend does is he plays songs that already on the radar. What this does is take the raw emotion you feel from a song and embodies the whole thing into the keys of a piano.
I am not saying Sides is the next Schubert, Haydn or Stravinsky. He is David Sides, a breath of fresh air. That in itself is good for a young generation, who like current and not the past.

Sides just released his first album Mr. Sides the Collection Volume 1. This album features top twenty hits. It was all piano and no vocals.He says the inspiration for his music is everything from hip-hop to Frank Sinatra. I thought it would have a hard time keeping my attention for all eighteen tracks. It did not. I played the album a few times.

David Sides is not signed to a record label yet. Who knows how long that will last? He is in talks with different record companies. Sides is currently on tour doing shows at different universities. He has recently finished at Columbia University. He has done countless radio shows, and has been featured in various magazines like Cove.

In an interview Sides said he started entering competitions when he started college. He competed in seven competitions. He won four, place in the top three at two others, and was booed off stage at another.

Sides says he plays all of his songs by ear, but is working on making sheet music for it all. He says Ciara's Like A boy is the hardest story he has transcribed, because that is the first song he put octaves and melody in. One of the more interesting things that I noticed about Sides' music is his detail to each individual piece of the music that he plays. Sides says in addition to dropping an album, he will be putting together a compilation of sheet music that will soon go on sale.


His work will soon get a chance to be on music's forefront, but before it does just know you are one of the first people to get a glimpse at this side of David. Photography provided by misdirkted photography.

Raising Literacy Rates in Central New York and Beyond

Illiteracy is a major societal problem. According to UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization), almost 25% of Americans are illiterate and so are nearly 771 million people across the world. Here in Central New York, several organizations are working to increase literacy rates on a local, national, and global level.

Proliteracy Worldwide

One of the world's most active organizations in improving adult literacy is based in Syracuse. In August 2002, Laubach Literary International merged with Literacy Volunteers of America, Inc., to form ProLiteracy Worldwide. According to its website, ProLiteracy Worldwide is the oldest and largest nongovernmental literacy organization in the world.

In the United States, ProLiteracy America has more than 1,200 member groups that work to increase adult literacy. Each group offers classes and tutoring for adults who need to learn to read. The groups also research the needs of illiterate adults and develop curricula to help them learn to read and become more functional in American society. ProLiteracy America also holds a conference each year. This year's conference will take place in Alexandria, Virginia, in early November. The organization's representatives will hold workshops, have feature presentations, and visit Capitol Hill to discuss ProLiteracy's mission with members of Congress.

ProLiteracy's International Program addresses low literacy rates and social problems. In addition to teaching adults to read, the program shows parents how to teach their children to read as well. There are also programs that combine learning to read with learning about social issues. Literacy for Social Change is a program that allows participants to work on community projects while learning to read. The material they use relates to the projects their working on. The information not only teaches people how to read, but also educates them on community issues, such as education, economics, health, peace, and the environment. Women in Literacy Initiative was implemented in several developing countries where men are favored. In these countries, women are often denied rights, and that includes the right to learn. This initiative teaches women to read and also provides them with the knowledge they need to understand the world around them and their own self-worth.
ProLiteracy Worldwide has its own press. The New Readers Press publishes books, magazines, and newspapers for those learning to read. According to its website, the press generates $8 million of revenue each year. Proceeds from the sales of the materials fund the projects and programs ProLiteracy champions.
Oprah Winfrey's Book Club supports ProLiteracy Worldwide. In celebration of the 2007 selection of Sidney Poitier's The Measure of a Man, the Book Club gave a $50,000 grant to the organization.
This is a video from YouTube about ProLiteracy Worldwide.
Family Literacy Alliance of Greater Syracuse


The Family Literacy Allicance of Greater Syracuse works to increase the number of literacy services for children and adults. The Alliance focuses on the four components of "Family Literacy," which include adult education, childhood education, parenting education, and part-child interactive literacy activities. The Alliance strives to garner support for literacy advancement, identify and develop possible funding for literacy, increase awareness and education in literacy, and gather, analyze, and report research and statistics about literacy to the community. The Family Literacy Alliance of Greater Syracuse sponsors events for children. In the summer, the Alliance supports the SAIL Program (Summer Adventures in Learning). The program, which is sponsored by the Learning Disabilities Association of Central New York, targets children from kindergarten through eighth grade who have learning disabilities. The program offers classes in reading, writing, and art, as well as math and computers. The goal is to give students confidence who might otherwise feel inadequate due to their learning disabilities. Organizers say these students often become discouraged by their weaknesses and give up on learning to read and write, and the program teaches these skills in a relaxed setting, where students can learn at their own pace before starting school in the fall.

Literacy Volunteers of Greater Syracuse

Even before Literacy Volunteers of America was formed in 1972, Literacy Volunteers of Greater Syracuse was working to improve literacy rates in Central New York. Today, the organization's volunteers often spend time in Onondaga County Public Library branches, as well as churches and schools, tutoring adults and children who operate below a sixth grade reading level.

Volunteers complete a training program that prepares them to help students learn to read and write the English language. LVS pairs volunteers with students who have been evaluated, and the pair works together for at least two hours each week. LVS says both volunteers and students come from all racial, ethnic, and socio-economic backgrounds.

According to the organization's website, students who have been helped by LVS have gone on to receive job offers, enroll in educational programs, become U.S. citizens, assume active roles in their children's schools and educations, learn how to take advantage of community resources, and participate in elections.
Syracuse University Literary Corps

More than 120 students at Syracuse University are members of the Syracuse University Literary Corps. The program came about as part of the America Reads Challenge that was designed to improve literacy rates among young children through community involvement by adults and college students. SU students tutor elementary school children in the Syracuse City School District.

Community Support

Several organizations and agencies throughout the Syracuse community either support one or more of the above organizations, have their own program that strives to increase literacy rates, or show their support for literacy in other ways. The Onondaga County Public Library has an adult literacy program that helps adults become "information literate" and puts them on a path to lifelong learning. Syracuse Mayor Matt Driscoll and Onondaga County Executive Nick Pirro declared February 26, 2003, Literacy Day in Syracuse and Onondaga County to raise awareness about illiteracy and the local programs working to combat it. Read Ahead supplies grants that fund literacy programs. Although illiteracy is still a problem in Syracuse and elsewhere, several local organizations are working to reduce it both here at home and across the world.