Colgate and Ivory Tower’s Tim Byrnes and the League of Women Voters to Speak at the Firebarn

The Strathmore Speaker Series is proud to announce that Dr. Timothy A. Brynes and the League of Women Voters will speak on “Election 2016: How We Got Here and Where We’ll Go” at the Firebarn on Thursday, November 3rd, 2016 at 7:00 pm. Like all Series events, this non-partisan presentation is free and open to the public.

Tim Byrnes


Byrnes holds a bachelors degree from Le Moyne College and a Ph.D. from Cornell University. He is the Charles A. Dana Professor of Political Science at Colgate University and chair of the Department of Political Science. He has held visiting faculty appointments at The Graduate Institute for International Affairs in Switzerland and Nicolas Copernicus University in Poland, and he is a past winner of Colgate’s Alumni Corporation’s Award for Distinguished Teaching.

Byrnes is the author of a number of books on the role of the Catholic Church in politics, among them Catholic Bishops in American Politics, Transnational Catholicism in Post Communist Europe, and most recently, Reverse Mission: Transnational Religious Communities and the Making of US Foreign Policy.

He has been a weekly panelist on WCNY-TV’s Ivory Tower for over ten years, and he also currently appears regularly on News Channel 9’s Newsmakers with Dan Cummings.

See Tim Byrnes discuss the second Presidential Debate.

The League of Women Voters


The League of Women Voters of the Syracuse Metropolitan Area is a nonprofit and nonpartisan political organization encouraging the informed and active participation of citizens in government.

The League influences public policy through education and advocacy, with two separate and distinct roles:

Voters Service/Citizen: The League presents unbiased nonpartisan information about elections, the voting process, and issues

Action/Advocacy: The league is also nonpartisan, but, after study, it uses it’s positions to advocate for or against particular policies in the public interest

Andrew Lunetta, Founder of A Tiny Home for Good, to Speak at the Firebarn


The Strathmore Speaker Series is proud to announce that Andrew Lunetta, Founder and Executive Director of A Tiny Home for Good, Inc., will speak at the Strathmore Speaker Series on Thursday, October 13th, 2016 at 7:00 pm.

Lunetta, who lived in Syracuse as a child and attended Ed Smith Elementary through third grade, grew up in Massachusetts before returning to Syracuse in 2008 to attend Le Moyne College.  He graduated from Le Moyne in 2012 with a degree in Peach and Conflict Studies and went on to earn his Masters in Public Policy from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School in 2014.

Drawn to helping others since a gap year spent substitute teaching in Cleveland, Ohio through the AmeriCorps program, Lunetta quickly sought out ways to help others upon his return to Syracuse. As a freshman at Le Moyne, he started volunteering regularly at the Brady Faith Center, an organization which would eventually invite him to join its board. Through the center Lunetta became involved with helping the city’s homeless and quickly found his calling. He created a drop-in center, started a program that provides sandwiches, and began a bike give away program for the Center’s homeless patrons.

His involvement with the Center eventually led to the establishment of his latest endeavor, the A Tiny Home for Good project in 2014, which aims to provide affordable, safe and dignified housing for Syracuse’s homeless. With the help of volunteers, the project completed the construction of its first two homes on Rose Street in Syracuse earlier this year.


Each modest home measures 12′ by 20′, and contains a single room that includes a living area, bed, kitchen, and bathroom. They also include a small outdoor shed to store they occupants’ bikes. Costing less than $25,000 each to construct and making use of already vacant lost, the project’s homes are a compelling alternative to VanKeuren Square, a state-of-the-art East Side housing complex for homeless vets that cost $11.4 million for 50 units, or $228,000 per apartment.

Since finishing his first two homes, Lunetta has begun construction of three new homes on South Salina Street which are expected to be completed this fall and plans are already in the works to build more new homes near the Rescue Mission.


Something’s Brewing in CNY!



Photo by the Salt City Brew Club.

The Strathmore Speaker Series is delighted to announce that Post-Standard and food and drink writer and beer historian Don Cazentre and the Salt City Brew Club’s Sarah Townsend and Christophe Colebrook will kick off our Fall 2016 season with a presentation on the rich past and present of beer brewing in CNY. Co-sponsoring this event is Jason Purdy, Strathmore resident and owner and proprietor of Tipp Hill’s hottest new spot, Now & Later (formerly Brilbeck’s Corner Market). The event will include a beer tasting (must be 21) and will be held at Now & Later (620 Ulster St., corner of Avery Ave.) at 7 pm on Thursday, September 22nd, 2016.

Space at this event is limited and RSVPs are required. Please RSVP via our Eventbright page here.

Don Cazentre

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Don Cazentre. Photo by the Madison County Historical Society.

Don Cazentre hails from New Orleans, Louisiana and earned a BA in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He has held numerous posts at Syracuse’s daily newspapers, since joining in 1986. While much of his career was spent as reporter and editor covering politics and government, he began branching out into beer, food, and wine writing in 1995. He became the Post-Standard’s full-time food & drink writer in 2009 and the Syracuse Media Group/’s in 2013.

NY Brew

Don has freelanced for numerous beer publications including the Ale Street News, Great Lakes Brewing News, Beer Advocate, Beer Connoisseur, and Edible Finger Lakes, among others, for over twenty years. He is also the co-author of New York Breweries and the author of 2017’s Spirits and Cocktails of Upstate New York.



The Salt City Brew Club

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Sarah Townsend and Christophe Colebrook are expert homebrewers and members of CNY’s premier beer club, the Salt City Brew Club. The 20+-year-old Salt City Brew Club, for homebrewers and beer fans, meets on the second Tuesday of each month at Asil’s Pub in Camillus.


Jason Purdy and Now & Later


Jason Purdy at Brilbeck’s. Photo by

Syracuse-native and Strathmore resident, Jason Purdy is something of a serial entrepreneur. Together with partners, he took over longtime Northside favorite, Shifty’s Bar & Grill, and ran it until 2014. In late 2013, Purdy purchased Tipp Hill-institution Brilbeck’s Corner Market which had transformed into a half-convenience store, half-craft beer specialty store a decade earlier. In mid-2015 Purdy closed Bribeck’s and set about converting the space into a combination tap room and bottle shop, with the original store space functioning as a bar, and the former garage functioning as a retail store. The newly renovated venue opened as Now & Later in late 2015 and has been a mainstay of the Tipp Hill social scene ever since.

The Strathmore Speaker Series would like to express its sincere gratitude to Purdy who has graciously offered to host this event at Now & Later and donate the beer used in the tasting.

What are you doing this fall?

Summer break may be fast approaching, but the Strathmore Speaker Series committee is hard at work planning our fall lineup. Here’s a little teaser of what we’ve got in store:



Beer and Syracuse have a long history. And no, we don’t just mean Empire, Middle Ages, or that green stuff they sell around St. Patrick’s Day. Since its days as a mecca for German and Irish immigrants in late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Syracuse has long been a center of beer brewing activity. Come learn about our beer brewing past, present, and future this September at the Strathmore Speaker Series.



Who doesn’t love a good mystery? The Strathmore Speaker Series sure does! And that’s why we’re working to bring you a New York Times Best Selling Mystery writer this October. In keeping with the theme, we can’t say who it is yet, but we can say you’ll like it!



Are you feeling like this current electoral season is a little bit out of the ordinary? The Strathmore Speaker Series is and we want to know why! So this November we’re bringing you a non-partisan explanation of how our electoral system works, how we got here, and where we we can expect to go in the future with Colgate University Political Science Professor and star of WCNY‘s Ivory Tower Half Hour, Dr. Tim Byrnes, and friends from the League of Women Voters.

Stay tuned for more details and don’t forget, our events are free and open to the public!

Reclaiming Our Past: The Hotel Syracuse


The Strathmore Speaker Series is proud to announce that developer Edward M. Riley and muralist Katerina Spilio will present on the restoration of the historic Hotel Syracuse at the Firebarn at 7 pm on Thursday, May 12th, 2016.


Ed Riley

Riley, a Syracuse-native, has 40 years of experience in design, construction, and real estate development and hotel operations. In August of 2014, he resigned from his post as Senior Vice President for Design, Construction, and Real Estate with Pyramid Hotel Group to return home and begin work on the restoration of one of Syracuse’s most historic landmarks, the Hotel Syracuse.


Prior to joining Pyramid, Riley worked with Intrawest Placemaking, Marriott Resorts, and Waterford Development. He has been an architect of record and co-developer on several historic restoration projects in Armory Square area of downtown Syracuse, including the Bentley-Settle, Piper-Phillips, the McArthur, Worth & Cooney buildings. He is a graduate of Onondaga Community College and Syracuse University’s School of Architecture.


 Katerina Spilio

Spilio, who was born in Athens, Greece, emigrated to the United States at the age of four and settled in New York City. While attending Hunter College High School, she began an apprenticeship in Byzantine iconography with her father, training in the creation of traditional Eastern Orthodox icons for churches.  Spilio continued her education at New York University, Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design at The London Institute, and the New York City Art Students League. She received her BA in English from Pace University. As part of Byzantine Icons Studio, Katerina has created original artwork ranging from twenty-five foot Pantokrator and sixteen foot Last Supper to miniatures five inches across. Her work is represented in private collections across the United States, England and Greece.


Former Pro Football Player Billy McBride to Speak at the Firebarn

billymPhoto of McBride coaching by

The Strathmore Speaker Series is proud to announce that Syracuse-native and former professional football player Billy McBride will return home to share his remarkable personal story and speak on race, diversity, and inclusion at the Firebarn on Sunday, April 17th, 2016 at 2 pm.

McBride is a 1974 graduate of Central Tech High School (today’s Institute of Technology) in Syracuse, N.Y., where he was named First Team All-City in football and basketball, and All-Upstate in football. Additionally, he received the Omar Spencer, Outstanding High School Athletic Award and in 1972, was named YMCA Youth of the Year.

billyPhoto of McBride from his Central Tech days provided by Billy McBride.

A 1979 graduate of Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in recreation, McBride was a two-sport athlete in basketball and football. He was a member of Tennessee State’s 1975 NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four team and was drafted into the NFL by the San Francisco 49ers shortly after graduation.

Today, McBride serves as the Assistant Athletic Director-Diversity and Inclusion, Director of Club Sports and Senior Coach at one of America’s premier liberal arts institutions, Amherst College in Amherst, MA.

McBride has been a guest motivational speaker at many colleges, elementary and high schools, and consulting firms, both domestically and internationally and on behalf of the U.S. Department of State.

McBride is also an accomplished art critic and author having lectured, written, and produced a podcast on the work of George Bellows in conjunction with the Amherst College Mead Art Museum.

16824765279_9d38666b9b_zPhoto of McBride lecturing on the work of George Bellows by Rob Mattson/Amherst College.

More information about Billy McBride can be found here.


[Re]thinking Syracuse with Jason Evans

Jason EvansPhoto of  Jason Evans provided by Jason Evans.

The Strathmore Speaker Series is proud to announce that architect and artist Jason Evans will speak at the Firebarn at 2 pm on Sunday, March 20th, 2016.

15153581-mmmainPhoto of Jason Evans in front of “Flowscape” by

Jason Evans, a Syracuse native, has been practicing architecture locally since graduating from Syracuse University’s School of Architecture in 2008.  He has a passion for cities, and especially Syracuse, that is reflected in his work as a designer as well as throughout his life endeavors.  He is the creator of [re]think syracuse, on online platform and blog of ideas for the city, and creates unique pieces of art and apparel inspired by the neighborhoods of Syracuse.  He is the designer behind some large-scale collaborative pieces of downtown public art including the 2-block long Arterie, and Flowscape, located in Perseverance Park.

2013-10-19-kt-saltmarketjpg-24b09477c66d2ea1Photo of some of Evans’ art by

Evans can be found on Facebook here and on the web here. His artwork can be purchased here.