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  It's a gray late Saturday afternoon in Syracuse, the sun has been nowhere to be found in more than a week, the temperatures have not risen over the freezing point in at least that long, those that shovel the pavement they call their own are probably still more than a little bit sore, and the holidays that call for gift-giving and before that gift-wrapping are knock-knock-knocking at everybody's door.

Organization Uses Federal Grant to Help Syracuse Refugees Find Jobs

Dec 11, 2014
(c) John Smith, WAER.

The Somali Bantu Community Association has received a $450,000 Federal grant to support self-sufficiency and provide employment services to the Somali Bantus, as well as other refugees in the Syracuse area. Self-sufficiency is a top priority for the association, which works to assist the refugees along their path toward becoming United States citizens. 

Haji Adan, Executive Director of the association, says the group’s mission is to facilitate a successful transition to American life.

Mark Bialczak

The halls of Nottingham High School were hopping Saturday afternoon.

Scott Willis

  For the second time in two weeks, members of a wide-array of community advocacy groups gathered Friday in front of the Syracuse Federal Building to peacefully protest the lack of charges against white police officer, Daniel Panatelo, for the July killing of unarmed black man, Eric Garner.

Syracuse Peace Council

  The Syracuse Peace Council is hoping community members will do some holiday shopping at a city high school this weekend, rather than the big box stores. 

Valerie Crowder, WAER News

For Tom Uva, helping others is the best way to show gratefulness on Thanksgiving. For the last two years, he and his daughter Jenna, 12, have volunteered with about 250 others at the Syracuse Rescue Mission, serving a hot, holiday meal to hungry families.

Central New York bargain hunters were out and about Friday trying to land those limited black Friday specials.  But Syracuse University professor of retail practice Amanda Nicholson says there’s no reason to rush for most items.

gasbuddy.com

Central New Yorkers heading out on the road this Thanksgiving Holiday are being greeted by gas prices a full 50 cents–a-gallon less than a year ago.  Gas-Buddy-dot-com Senior Petroleum Analyst Gregg Laskoski says in some respects, the drop  in prices isn't all that uncommon for this time of year.

Scott Willis / WAER news

More than 50 people of many backgrounds gathered in front of the federal building in Syracuse today to express their disappointment that no criminal charges will be brought against a Ferguson Missouri police officer.  Darren Wilson is accused of shooting unarmed teenager Michael Brown.  While most at the rally didn’t condone the violence that followed the grand jury’s decision, some like David Dunbar of Syracuse understand where the anger comes from.

a snow-covered sidewalk with footprints marking how many people have struggled to walk along the path
Scott Willis / WAER News

Another attempt to fine Syracuse property owners who don’t clear the snow from their sidewalks has failed in the Common Council.  The vote was 7 to 2 against beefing up a snow removal ordinance to include a warning, followed by a $50 fine for those who don’t comply.  

The measure would have applied only to primary routes and those near schools, and might have included some discretion for the elderly or those with disabilities.  Councilor Bob Dougherty understands the concern, and had hoped to work with community and school groups to arrange volunteers to help:

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