Join the Strathmore Speakers Series and Onondaga Free Library for an evening with historian and former curator of the Onondaga Historical Association, Dennis Connors. Mr. Connors will recount the twisted tale, stretching over three centuries, of how our community treasured, remembered, and ultimately lost a unique link to its past: the Onondaga Arsenal. A brief Q&A will follow.
This event will be held on Thursday, November 10th at 7 pm on Zoom. Like all Strathmore Speaker Series and Onondaga Free Library events, this presentation is free and open to the public.
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About Dennis Connors
Dennis Connors has worked in historical agencies since 1972 and as curator of history at the Onondaga Historical Association in Syracuse, New York from 1999 until his retirement in 2018. He was employed originally by the Association from 1992 to 1999 as its Executive Director. Previous to that, he was the Supervisor of Historic Resources for Onondaga County Parks for 14 years, overseeing three historic properties. He also served as executive director for the Landmarks Association of Central New York for three years. He recently was a contributing author for the New York State Encyclopedia Project and has authored and edited six books on Syracuse area history, the most recent being Syracuse’s Grand Hotel: A History, published in 2017. Mr. Connors has a history degree from the State University of NY at Buffalo with a concentration in museum studies.
About the Onondaga Arsenal
The Onondaga Arsenal is a little-known landmark structure hidden away on a hillside overlooking Syracuse’s Valley neighborhood. It is a fascinating local link to one of America’s earliest military struggles – the War of 1812. But its 200-year-old story is also an intriguing yet sad tale of our community’s own struggle to recognize and preserve the history embedded in its architectural landmarks. Local historian Dennis Connors will explore how the arsenal came to be built where it was and its role in the War of 1812; plus discuss the sometimes confusing, usually frustrating and often futile efforts to preserve it.
Join the Strathmore Speakers Series and Onondaga Free Library for an evening with Dakota Matthews, Molecular Lab Manager of SUNY ESF’sAmerican Chestnut Research & Restoration Project. Before the turn of the century, the American chestnut was a significant part of American life. Because it could grow rapidly and attain huge sizes, the tree was often the outstanding visual feature in both urban and rural landscapes. Its wood was used wherever strength and rot-resistance was needed. And its edible nut was a significant contributor to the rural economy. Chestnut ripening coincided with the Thanksgiving-Christmas holiday season, and turn-of-the-century newspaper articles often showed train cars filled to overflowing with chestnuts rolling into major cities to be sold fresh or roasted. But with the introduction of Cryphonectria parasitica, the causal agent of chestnut blight, in the early 1900s, the American chestnut was reduced to a shadow of its former self: not quite extinct; but no longer able to thrive. Now, through the application of cutting-edge biotechnology, SUNY ESF’s American Chestnut Research & Restoration Project has developed a blight-tolerant American chestnut tree and is working to restore this iconic and valuable cultural symbol to the forest ecosystems of the eastern United States. Mr. Matthews will detail this pioneering work, provide an update on where the project currently stands, and outline the project’s ambitious goal of growing ten thousand blight-resistant American chestnut trees over the next five years. A brief Q&A will follow.”
This event will be held on Thursday, October 13 at 7 pm on Zoom. Like all Strathmore Speaker Series and Onondaga Free Library events, this presentation is free and open to the public.
Dakota Matthews has been a part of the American Chestnut Research and Restoration Project for close to seven years. He holds a Masters in Plant Biotechnology from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and began working for the Project as a graduate student. In 2020 he was promoted to the position of molecular lab manager. His primary focus is on gene expression and copy number for transgenic events, as well as working with fungal cultures of the Chestnut blight for controlled inoculations.
Join the Strathmore Speakers Series and Onondaga Free Library for an evening with Syracuse University College of Law professor Jenny Breen, as she discusses the impact of the Supreme Court’s recent rulings on American politics. Looking beyond the well-publicized verdict in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Professor Breen will provide analysis of several of the Court’s lesser-known, yet equally consequential rulings. Upcoming cases, including the deeply significant Moore v. Harper, will also be addressed. A brief Q&A will follow Professor Breen’s talk.
This event will be held on Thursday, September 8 at 7 pm on Zoom. Like all Strathmore Speaker Series and Onondaga Free Library events, this presentation is free and open to the public.
Jenny Breen teaches Constitutional Law, Administrative Law, and Labor Law. Her interdisciplinary scholarship is centrally concerned with democratic governance in the United States and pays particular attention to the roles of gender and labor politics. Her current research examines the Supreme Court’s relationship to democratic erosion in the United States. She has also written in the areas of immigration and criminal law. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in journals including the Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law, the University of Hawai’i Law Review, the American Criminal Law Review, and the Journal of Policy History. She received her J.D. from Cornell Law School and her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania.
Join the Strathmore Speakers Series and Onondaga Free Library for an evening with Abbey McHugh and Heather Cogan of Common Cause NY, as they discuss gerrymandering, voter suppression, and the recent work of Syracuse’s independent Redistricting Commission. Syracuse is one of only a handful of governments in the nation to adopt an independent redistricting model and is believed to be the first city east of the Mississippi River to do so. Onondaga County’s process was largely criticized as partisan and messy, resulting in district maps that are currently facing legal action. Ms. McHugh and Ms. Cogan will highlight the importance of Syracuse’s independent model, its potential impact on Syracuse’s voting districts, and ways average citizens can engage in this unique, once-in-a-decade process.
This event will be held on Thursday, June 2 at 7 pm on Zoom. Like all Strathmore Speaker Series and Onondaga Free Library events, this presentation is free and open to the public.
Common Cause is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. Common Cause works to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process. Common Cause New York is one of the most active state chapters in the country, representing tens of thousands of New Yorkers throughout the state. With over 64,000 members, Common Cause NY is a leader in the movement for election administration reform, campaign finance reform and upholding ethics laws to impact systems that undermine people’s faith in democracy.
Join the Strathmore Speakers Series and Onondaga Free Library for a timely discussion of the ongoing war in the Ukraine, featuring Syracuse University Political Science Professor and Russia expert, Dr. Brian Taylor. Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine on February 24, 2022 sent shock waves through the international community and threatens to irrevocably upset the existing geopolitical order. What does the ongoing war mean for Europe? For NATO? And for the United States? Is this the start of a new Cold War? And if so, how will Putin respond? What impact will Russia’s actions have on the norms of international behavior? Can we ever go back? And, perhaps most importantly, how will this conflict end? Is there a peaceful solution to be found? Or must force be met with force? You won’t want to miss this incredibly important lecture. A brief Q&A will follow Dr. Taylor’s talk.
This event will be held on Thursday, May 19th at 7 pm on Zoom. Like all Strathmore Speaker Series and Onondaga Free Library events, this presentation is free and open to the public.