All articles by Walt Shepperd

An Activist with a Sense of Fun

Karen DeCrow (1937 – 2014)

Karen DeCrow got the vision early. As a pioneer, the only woman in her class at Syracuse University Law School, she sensed the immensity of the struggle and learned how the battle must be waged.



Mayor Stephanie Miner: Round 2

It’s an incentive for me and my administration to accomplish as much as we can

Shortly after returning to his City Hall office for a second, and last, stint, former Mayor Roy Bernardi reflected on being re-elected to a term-limited post.



Face Time: Dale Harp

He has produced a 400-page novel, which he has sold mostly door-to-door and on the street.

Dale Harp remembers lying on a bunk, staring at the fluorescent light in the ceiling at Elmira Correctional Facility. It looked exactly the same as it had 30 years before, when it had been a facility for juvenile offenders and he had been locked up there. He realized then that writing a book would probably be his best bet to avoid sitting at card games, which inevitably led to a beef, a flare of violence and more time to serve. Thirty years later, he has produced a 400-page novel, which he has sold mostly door-to-door and on the street. He hopes his story will deter others from following his path in life.



Hawkins Runs Again for Governor

A candidate for office every year since 1993 except for 2012

Howie Hawkins will run for governor on the Green Party ticket in an attempt to repeat what for the party was significant electoral triumph: maintaining their line on the state ballot. He announced his candidacy on Tuesday.



Reaching a Milestone

Local public housing marks 75 years

George Stroman III remembers learning to tie his shoe at Benderson Heights, one of the Syracuse Housing Authority's 15 complexes, off West Colvin Street, before moving into Pioneer Homes, off East Adams Street, one of the first five such projects in the United States.



Hang Time for Hoopsters

Baby Boomers Basketballers are ballin’ on a different turf

When the Baby Boomers (over 40) Basketball League opened for its 16th season in November, a cloud of concern hung over a new location for the Sunday-afternoon games. Unable to broker an agreement between players and the administration at the Southwest Community Center over rental fees, the league was forced to relocate out of the neighborhood--way out of the neighborhood, to the gym at McChesney Park, on the city's far North Side.



On the Comeback Trail

Uplites, Avatar and Destiny

In the late 1990s, U.A.D., featuring four-part rhythm’n’blues harmonies with a focus on the Motown sound, established a tradition of Valentine’s Day concerts, eventually expanding to include Mother’s Day. Five years ago, however, with Larry Mathis, the group’s leader, spending time developing a second performance group, the tradition faded.



Sole Man

Shoemaker Ralph Rotella wants shoe donations for Christmas

Four years ago, with Christmas approaching, Ralph Rotella looked out the window of his Discount Shoe Repair, 116 E. Washington St., and saw a man passing by in shoes beyond repair, the leather torn, socks more than peeking through the cracks. He invited the man inside to be fitted for a pair of used, but fully functional shoes.



Rough and Ready

Iraq War veteran John Ready writes about horror and humor

A decade ago, Oneida resident John Ready spent a year on active military duty in Iraq. Fifteen years of preparation and training, he reflects now, provided no real relevance for the experience. During that year, Ready sat at a desk in an abandoned building equipped with air conditioning, not in a front-line trench, yet he gained enough perspective on the insane, stupid, humorous, surreal and tragic events that promote extensive post-traumatic stress and a growing suicide rate to chronicle them in a series of self-published vignettes, Does My Suicide Vest Make Me Look Fat?



Power Outage

Public power was once an issue in mayoral elections past

(Feature Photo: Tom Magnarelli, Cusetonight.com)