Sean Kirst on “Syracuse: What I loved, why I stayed, what still drives me wild”

Sean K

Writer and long-time Strathmore resident, Sean Kirst, will speak on Syracuse: What I loved, why I stayed, what still drives me wild at the Firebarn at 2 pm, Sunday, October 18th, 2015. The event is free and open to the public.

Since receiving his first paycheck as a journalist more than 38 years ago, Sean Kirst has built his writing career on his passion for the cities and countryside of Upstate New York. Before coming to Syracuse, Kirst worked for newspapers in Rochester, Niagara Falls, and his hometown, Dunkirk, New York. Kirst joined The Post-Standard/Syracuse Media Group as a writer in 1988 and became a columnist in 1991. Today his work focuses primarily on civic issues – often starting at the neighborhood level – involving struggle, hope and passage, the themes that dominate our Upstate lives.

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Photo from Newshouse.

In 2009, Kirst became the first Upstate journalist to win the Ernie Pyle Award for human interest writing, presented annually to the one journalist nationally who best personifies the approach and ethic of Pyle, the renowned World War II correspondent. In 2010, Kirst received both the national Sigma Delta Chi Award for excellence in column writing and the national Capitol Beat award for commentary, for his columns on state government in Albany. He has won two national Clarion Awards for opinion writing. Kirst has also been recognized by the American Association of Sunday and Features Editors for his interactive involvement with readers, through his blog, and he has been honored by the U.S. Justice Department for sensitivity to victims of violent crime. In 2014, the Syracuse Press Club added his name to its Wall of Distinction.

Kirst is also the author of “The Ashes of Lou Gehrig,” a collection of baseball essays, and co-author of “Moonfixer: The Basketball Journey of Earl Lloyd,” the autobiography of basketball Hall of Famer Earl Lloyd, who in 1950 became the first African-American to play in the National Basketball Association. The England-based Tolkien Society credits Kirst with proposing the worldwide Tolkien Reading Day that is now held every March, a celebration that always includes a gathering in Central New York.

Born in 1959, Kirst lives in Syracuse with his wife, Nora, a kindergarten teacher in the Syracuse city schools. They have three children: Sarah, Seamus and Liam.

Judge Joe Fahey to speak about “James K. McGuire: Boy Mayor and Irish Nationalist” at the Firebarn

Judge Joe Fahey

Author and Onondaga County Court Judge Joe Fahey will be speaking at the Strathmore Speaker Series​ at the Onondaga Park Firebarn this Sunday, September 20th, at 2 pm. Come hear him talk about his latest work, a biography of one of Syracuse’s most interesting mayors and an early Irish nationalist, James K. McGuire.

Judge Fahey has taught at the Syracuse University College of Law and has written numerous articles on the Irish peace process. His latest work is a non-fiction book about his maternal great uncle, who was the mayor of Syracuse from 1896 to 1901.The book was the winner of the 2014 CNY Book Award for non-fiction.

Fahey is currently working on a biography of Fenian leader Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa and belongs to many Irish historical and cultural organizations. He considers himself first and foremost an Irishman.

The event is free and open to all!

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Announcing the Strathmore Speakers Series’ Fall 2015 Lineup

SSS Fall 2015

The Strathmore Speaker Series is proud to announce its Fall 2015 lineup. The season will kickoff on Sunday, September 20th at 2 pm with a presentation by author and Onondaga County Court Judge Joe Fahey on his latest book James K. McGuire, Boy Mayor and Irish Nationalist. Our second event of the season will feature a presentation by Syracuse.com/Post-Standard columnist Sean Kirst on Sunday, October 18th at 2 pm. Social policy expert and candidate for Onondaga County Legislature’s 15th district Tim Rudd will conclude our season with a presentation on exciting new developments in social policy and their applicability to communities like Syracuse on Thursday, November 19th at 7 pm.

All events are held in the Onondaga Park Firebarn and are free and open to the public. We hope to see you there!

Maxwell School Economist Donald Dutkowsky to Speak at the Firebarn

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Maxwell School economist Donald Dutkowsky will speak at the Firebarn on Sunday, May 17th, 2015 at 3 pm. Professor Dutkowsky will discuss income and economic inequality and the growing gap between rich and poor in America.

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Having earned his B.A. and Ph.D. in economics from SUNY Buffalo, Professor Dutkowsky began his teaching career at Clarkson University before joining Syracuse University in 1985. At Syracuse, he served as the Director of Graduate Studies for the economics department at the Maxwell School for ten years, and regularly teaches courses in Money and Banking and Macroeconomics. His research uses macroeconomic data to assess how monetary policy affects output growth and inflation. He also studies consumer and corporate economic behavior and monetary policy. Professor Dutkowsky has published more than 40 works in scholarly journals, newspapers, and textbooks. He has also been featured in numerous national and local news outlets including, the Syracuse Post-Standard and Herald-Journal, Business Week, the Daily Orange, WCNY, WSTM, WTVH, WSYT, WSYR, WAER, and the BBC. Recently, he’s weighed in on small business recovery from the economic crises, Governor Cuomo’s student debt forgiveness plan, falling gas prices, and unemployment among millennials.

Maxwell School

Former Newhouse Dean and host of WCNY’s Ivory Tower David Rubin to Speak at the Firebarn

Dr. David Rubin, former dean of the Newhouse School at Syracuse University and current host of WCNY’s “Ivory Tower Half-Hour,” will speak on “the Impact of Media on Democracy” at the Firebarn at 7:00 pm on Thursday, April 16, 2015.

About Dr. Rubin:

Ivory Tower

Dr. David Rubin holds a B.A. from Columbia University in American History and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Communication from Stanford University. He served as Dean of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University from 1990 to 2008, and is now a member of the full-time faculty at Newhouse, teaching more than 200 students each year. Prior to Syracuse, he was, for 19 years, a member of the faculty and chair of the Department of Journalism at New York University.

At Newhouse:

As Dean of the Newhouse School, Dr. Rubin oversaw the building of the award-winning Newhouse-III, a state-of-the-art experimental lab for new approaches to online news delivery, and the new home of the offices of student services, a research center, and the Newhouse career center.

Beyond the Classroom:

In addition to teaching, Dr. Rubin is also the host and co-creator of “The Ivory Tower Half Hour,” a regular round-table discussion of public affairs that airs on WCNY-TV every Friday at 8 pm. Ivory Tower has been on the air since September 2002 and is the highest rated public affairs show in Central New York with a weekly audience of 10,000 viewers.

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Dr. Rubin served as a Pulitzer Prize judge on journalism in 1998 and 1999 and writes a monthly column for the Syracuse Post-Standard and the Syracuse Media Group.

David Rubin is married to the former broadcast journalist Tina Press. They live in Fayetteville with their two Shelties, Bobby and Ace, both of whom are masters-level agility competition dogs, no thanks to Dr. Rubin.

Learn more about Dr. Rubin here.

“The Near Westside – by Choice!” – A Profile of Peter Waack and Maggie Maurer

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Peter Waack and Maggie Maurer. Photo from Syracuse.com.

Peter Waack and Maggie Maurer will join other neighbors from Syracuse’s Near Westside for a panel discussion of what it’s like to live and work in one of the City’s most dynamic neighborhoods. The conversation will take place on Thursday, March 19th at 7 pm at the Onondaga Park Firebarn (500 Summit Ave, Syracuse, NY) and is free and open to the public.

Peter is the General Manager of The Daily Orange, a student-produced news media organization affiliated with Syracuse University. He is active in the community, sitting on the board of Directors for ArtRage, Syracuse Sports Corporation, and the advisory board of SyracuseFirst. Peter’s partner Maggie runs her own interior design consultancy and is a sales and marketing executive for an independent media company. Previously, she worked in the green home industry.

Together Peter and Maggie occupy the “R-house” at 19 Otisco Street on Syracuse’s Near Westside. The home’s design was among three winners of “From the Group Up”, a competition for affordable and energy-efficient homes to fill vacant lots in the neighborhood. The home was built in 2010 through a partnership between the University and Home HeadQuarters.

The 1200 square foot home was designed to German Passivhaus standards. Airtight and super-insulted, the home has a poured concrete floor that stores and strategically releases heat from sunlight coming in through large windows, and can be heated with the energy needed to run a hair dryer. Since moving in, Peter and Maggie have further demonstrated their commitment to green living by outfitting R-house with EnergyStar appliances and low-flow plumbing. They’ve even ensured that its exterior paint is environmentally-friendly and does not emit Volatile organic compounds.

More information about the home can be found here.

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R-house interior. Photo from Arch Daily.

“The Near Westside – by Choice!” – A Profile of Michael Giannattasio

The third featured speaker for the Strathmore Speaker Series’ upcoming “The Near Westside – by Choice!” event is Michael Giannattasio. Michael will join a panel of other Near Westside residents and business owners on Thursday, March 19th at 7 pm at the Firebarn in Onondaga Park for a conversation about what it’s like to live and work in one of Syracuse’s most exciting neighborhoods. The event is free and open to the public.

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Michael is the founder and director of Syracuse Arts Learning & Technology (SALT) Makerspace. He holds BFA and MFA degrees in Sculpture, is an independent fabricator, Co-Chair of Public Arts Task Force for 40 Below, a university-level teacher, and a public art sculptor.

Michael grew up in the Bay Area, just south of San Francisco. From a young age, he was exposed to diverse populations which influenced his outlook and goals in life. He received his first degree, a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Sculpture, from California State College, Chico. At Chico, he refined his process by working with every medium he could get his hands on including: glass, bronze, aluminum, wood, and ceramics. After completing his degree, Michael worked for a time as a studio assistant, independent fabricator, and professional artist.

In 2009, he moved to Syracuse to begin work on a Masters of Fine Arts in Sculpture at Syracuse University’s School of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA). During this time he focused his art on experiences relating to location and expressed through digital installations. By the time he graduated in 2012, Michael had fallen in love with the City of Syracuse and its people.

Soon after graduation Michael became involved with 40 Below’s Public Arts Task-Force, working to create collaborative and permanent public art projects throughout the City of Syracuse. At around the same time, he began working on the SALT Makerspace project. Since 2012, Michael has worked tirelessly to bring the Makerspace to life. In July 2014, his hard work finally paid off, with the grand opening of the 2,300 square foot SALT Makerspace in the Delvan Center on West Fayette Street. The space, which is aimed at local inventors and artists, offers members access fully-equipped metal and wood shops, a computer lab with 3-D printers and software, and a collaborative lounge space. It also hosts regular workshops on a variety of topics.

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The SALT Makerspace. Photos from Syracuse.com.

The Strathmore Speaker Series Announces its Spring Lineup

The Strathmore Speaker Series is proud to announce its spring 2015 lineup. The season will kickoff on Thursday, March 19th at 7 pm with a panel discussion between neighbors who have chosen to live and work in the up-and-coming Near Westside (SALT District). Our second event will feature a lecture about the impact of media on democracy by former Dean of the Newhouse School and moderator of WCNY’s Ivory Tower Half Hour, David Rubin on Thursday, April 16th at 7 pm. The spring season will conclude with a presentation on income inequality in America by Maxwell School Economist Donald Dutkowsky on Sunday, May 17th at 3 pm. All events are free and open to the public.

SSS Spring 2015

‘Tree of 40 Fruit’ Creator Sam Van Aken to Speak November 20th

Syracuse University Professor and creator of the Tree of 40 Fruit Sam Van Aken will speak at the Firebarn on Thursday, November 20th, from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

About Sam Van Aken:

Sam Van Aken

Born in Reading, Pennsylvania, Sam Van Aken received his undergraduate education in Communication Theory and Art. Immediately following his studies he lived and worked in Poland under the auspices of the Andy Warhol Foundation and the United States Information Agency. Returning after several years in Europe, Van Aken received his MFA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2001. Since this time his work has been exhibited nationally and internationally receiving numerous honors including a Joan Mitchell Award, Association of International Curator’s of Art Award and a 2009 Creative Capital Grant. Sam Van Aken is currently an Associate Professor in the Art Department at Syracuse University.

Sam Van Aken’s art combines sophisticated technology with traditional modes of art-making. Van Aken’s projects cross boundaries between artistic genres, including performance, installation, video, photography, and sculpture. With each body of work, he selects practices and new perspectives that provide a kinesthetic perception of objects and a visceral charge.

Most recently, he has gained acclaim for his Tree of 40 Fruit project. For this project, Van Aken uses the ancient technique of grafting to attach branches from various types of stone fruit onto a single tree, resulting in one tree that blooms in a multitude of colors and bears a range of fruit, including peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, cherries, and almonds. Currently, Van Aken has sixteen such trees installed at locations across the country. Van Aken’s project has been featured by NPR, Time, and CBS, among other news outlets. In March of 2014, he spoke at TEDxManhattan (see below).

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Artist’s rendering of Sam Van Aken’s Tree of 40 Fruit in bloom