4/20/2019

S.T.A.P. benefits from big donations and lots of love!

S.T.A.P. benefits from big donations and lots of love!


The Southern Tier A.I.D.S. Program threw a great benefit on Sunday at Remlik’s Grille & Oyster Bar, where the love of many came together in beautiful fashion to boost research and help for A.I.D.S., in a big way.




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Rockstar Divas

S.T.A.P. Development Director Mary Kaminsky couldn’t have sounded happier about the turnout and results of the 2019 Startender and Divas Rockstar A.I.D.S. benefit. Mary soared around Remlik’s talking to everyone and flashing a wonderful smile as the donations flowed in from everyone attending.
Some big donations joined small donations, and some big businesses too. There was a 50/50 raffle in which the winner donated back the money to S.T.A.P. There were gift baskets and envelopes taken for big donations. There was entertainment that seemed to last throughout the whole event, with small breaks for performers to join the crowd and fun and collect donations themselves.
DeDe Kupps, Monroe Sedgwick, Dusty Boxx, Katrina, Virginia Ham, Peaches Eclair and Remlik’s very own raw bar master and master entertainer Chris DeCosta, who all put the bar into a roar of applause each performance, were masterful, entertaining, and the lives of the party.




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S.T.A.P. Fundraising Bash Donations

If you take a look at the photo, you can see the Startender totals next to their first names. All Startenders did wonderfully, and the grand total was $14,975.84, bettering last year’s total by approximately $3,000. You might see a total of $18,050 in the photo, but S.T.A.P. decided that as incredible as the Divas were we couldn’t count their take twice, along with some doubling of a couple other big tips by accident. Certainly, they are thrilled with the real total, in any case, and greatly thank everyone who attended and made this such a success again this year.
Remlik’s was packed for almost the full benefit, and the extra room in the great hall outside was open to the crowd, lending a comfortable atmosphere for those who needed a little space or break from the definitively rocking music. There was free pizza to go with your drink of choice, and a conversation to be had just about anywhere in the room.



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The crowd at Remlik's Grille and Oyster Bar

All we saw were smiles on every soul in the room, and it seemed that everyone knew exactly why they were all there, and what the cause was for, and you could gather a sense of humility and humbleness from a crowd of big hearts who have all probably lost someone in their lives to A.I.D.S., Auto-Immune Deficiency Syndrome.
A.I.D.S. research has come a long way, and it was last reported that numbers of deaths in America had dropped to it’s the lowest number ever, and those contracted with the disease, as well. In the U.K., there have now been two individuals completely cured of the disease, and the hopes are that those treatments get cheaper and more accessible to the rest of the world so everyone can be cured.
Be sure to catch the next S.T.A.P. Rockstar Bartending Benefit Bash, and become part of history, too.


*Courtesy of The B. C. Chronicle/Updated by Colin B. M. Wood - original author.

4/17/2019

Would marijuana reform help Broome County’s opioid overdose problem?

District Attorney John Creuzot

Would marijuana reform help Broome County’s opioid overdose problem?


One D.A. in Texas is joining hundreds of other D.A.’s in the United States in easing or erasing marijuana laws and convictions in their counties. Would this type of reform help Broome County overcome their opioid overdose issue, as it has for other areas of the United States?
On April 11, 2019, Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot released a set of policies that will drastically reform the criminal justice system in his county. Dallas County Jail books a staggering 67,000 per year, and Creuzot ran in the 2018 District Attorney elections on a platform of reducing this number by one fifth. Cruezot’s policies put his bold campaign promises into action and prove the immense capacity of a District Attorney to steer the criminal justice system in the direction of reform.
In a five-page public letter, Creuzot outlines his office’s new policies, which include refusing to prosecute certain drug cases, reforming probation, and changing the handling of crimes related to poverty and homelessness. Additionally, Creuzot has already dismissed more than 1,000 marijuana possession cases and employs diversion for possession cases after a first offense. Additionally, the public letter outlines policies that aim to reduce the county’s reliance on cash bail. As Creuzot says, “our system of justice cannot depend on whether individuals can afford to buy their freedom.”

KIM OGG - HARRIS COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY
But bold leadership isn’t showing up all over Texas. In Harris County, District Attorney Kim Ogg ran on a platform of reform much like Creuzot, campaigning on bail reform proposals and diversion for low-level drug offenses. But once in a position of influence and power, unlike Creuzot, Kim Ogg has not stepped up to bring those reform-minded positions into reality. In fact, she is working against reform in Harris County by requesting 100 more prosecutors earlier this year--giving more power to the very players already driving the high rates of incarceration in the country.
Broome County has suffered a recent rash of fentanyl deaths within the past couple of months, and we have yet to see laws on marijuana relaxed in New York State and Broome County. It has been proven in other states, that decriminalizing marijuana definitely lowers opioid use, overdoses, and deaths very quickly, and our county and D.A.’s office might benefit from considering the same in a county and city that is near the top of the list of most dangerous cities in New York State, to live.
Binghamton and Broome County are actually an excellent place to live and raise a family, and it is unfortunate that drug problems and overly restrictive laws are affecting the public opinion of our area, and placing us on such negative and disassociative lists, wrongly reflecting on the reality of this area, which is truly a great place to live!


*Co-Authorship: Courtesy of Justice Volunteers and the The B. C. Chronicle

4/11/2019

5 Things to do in Broome County

https://previews.123rf.com/images/nd3000/nd30001703/nd3000170300907/74243359-happy-group-of-young-people-having-fun-and-enjoying-festival-in-summer.jpg
Happy group of young people having fun and enjoying festival in summer Stock Photo - 74243359


BROOME COUNTY IS FILLED WITH ALL SORT OF CULTURAL EVENTS, BANDS, SHOWS, KIDS ACTIVITIES, AND MORE. I HEARD IT SAID, “THERE’S NOTHING TO DO IN THIS AREA”. MAYBE WE’VE ALL BEEN GUILTY OF SAYING THIS, BUT IT’S JUST PLAIN WRONG.

Here is a list of 5 great things you or your family can partake in this quite incredibly artsy and family-themed area. The only thing missing is an amusement park. But, if you want to find a park, we have plenty to have a blast at.

1 PICK A PARK

Broome County is filled with parks. There is Otsiningo Park along the Chenango River, which offers a baseball field, two soccer fields, a huge playground for the kiddies, bathrooms, water fountains, a beautiful walkway surrounding and meandering through the park, around a pond, and among the Geese. Look out for dogs walking, bikes, and skaters, but they aren’t hard to avoid, as they hardly ever out-number the walkers.

There are Greenwood and Nathaniel Cole Parks. Both offer lakes with swimming fronts and sandy beaches. Both offer boating and fishing. Want to catch some rays and socialize with new friends, old friends, neighbors or associates? These two parks have all the sun-bathing room you need, plenty of picnic tables, large group outdoor venues, grills, softball fields, and playgrounds.

Don’t stop just at those parks though, or you’ll be missing out. There’s still Dorcester Park in Whitney Point. They have a huge, long lake, with boating available. Plenty of beachfront sand and swimming. A playground, and some grilling and picnic areas. It can make for a beautiful day if the weather is just right.

Our last, but not least, favorite place to go is Highland Park in Endwell. This park has it all. A carousel, playground, swimming pool, grills, picnic tables and is the center of many functions, including the famous July 4th celebration every summer with the most incredible fireworks display in the area. Of course, there are other parks, but these are our favorites here at WBDY-LP 99.5 FM Binghamton’s Community Radio and offer the most for you or your family’s visit.

2 LIONS, TIGERS, AND BEARS...OH MY!

Let’s not forget the world-famous April and her giraffe family. Yes, Adventure Park in Harpursville, NY has everything you and the kids will love. Many animals to pet and feed, exotic pets, and of course the only giraffes in the surrounding area, or even upstate NY, we believe. April became famous in 2017, when even in Germany, the news was getting around that she was having her first baby, and there was a contest to name it.

The Ross Park Zoo is hilly, but it is a beautiful walk through the woods as you happen upon some of your favorite animals, including the popular penguins, who are a fan favorite. The zoo has a few picnic areas, and a carousel, as well.

We’d be remiss not to mention an out of county Zoo, but only about an hour outside of Binghamton in Syracuse, Oneida County. That is the world-known Rosamond Gifford Zoo. Wow, this place has 700 different animals, they purport on Google Search. From snakes to spiders, monkeys to tigers, lions and yes, even bears. A new large penguin display, bulls, elephants, and so many more exotic creatures such as the red panda, a very shy snow leopard, and Lemurs. Even check out a cute bird sanctuary inside. This Zoo has tables inside and out to eat at, pony rides, petting barns, surrounding you after you grab a bite to eat in their indoor restaurant.

3 TAKE IN A SHOW!

Now, this is one entertainment area that Binghamton and the surrounding communities are never, ever shy of. Whether it’s Broadway Tours at the Forum Theater, The Tri-Cities Opera, Summer Savoyards, SRO III, EPAC, or any of the other small community theater groups, combined with Broadway caliber high school performances, you can find a show on almost any given weekend to take in.
The areas talent, combined with a SUNY-Broome music program, and a BU music and theater program, as well as hundreds of professional and amateur performers, this county is busting out at the seams with talent.
The Floyd L. Maines Arena, once known for decades as the War Veterans Memorial Arena, outside of which you will find a nice memorial to lost area soldiers, puts on concerts often, many different community programs for kids, the Shriner’s circus, and of course our very own Hockey Team, as Broome has had since the Dusters started here in the 1970’s.
That’s just a limited look at what comes through the arena on any given day, night or weekend. Don’t forget all those kids shows that pull through, and some area graduations.
There is a whole heck of a lot of live entertainment. From bands such as O.C.D., The KiiL, Milkweed, The Gents, Wreckless Marci and many, many more amazingly talented groups to magician acts, singing competitions, amazing karaoke at places like the Lost Dog or Nips Park Avenue Saloon Thursday nights, or try Birtchy's Joint on Saturday nights with Amy Howe, a powerful singer in her own right. You’ll hear some great singing coming from mouths you’d never guess could produce the quality they do.
The Lost Dog has a singing competition coming up beginning the 18th that will blow your socks off for sure. The talent that Powerhouse Entertainment and Frankie Cepero pulls in on a Thursday night is out of this world, and you might feel guilty you haven’t forked over a concert fee for what you find yourself a part of after 3 hours of wall to wall top voices the area has to offer.

4 SPORTS ANYONE?

I think most of us are aware that our area thrives on sports. There is the NY Mets Double-A team at NYSEG Stadium, the Binghamton Rumble Ponies. We have a UHL Hockey team in the Binghamton Devils, formerly the Senators, formerly the Rangers, formerly the Whalers, formerly the Dusters. If we’ve left a team name out, we apologize, but we think we fit them all in here.

There are lots of High School sporting events and currently and in the past, we have had County, State, and World Champs come out of Broome County. It was just in 2017, that Maine-Endwell Little League won the Little League World Series in Pennsylvania, just a few hours away. We’ve had High School Teams rank 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in National High School Rankings, and an uncountable amount of State Champs in just about every sport.

At one point, Vestal Soccer and Binghamton Basketball and Football were all ranked in the top 3 in the nation in their respective sports at the same time, but we are going back just a few decades for that mention.

5 KIDS AND FAMILY FUN

Here we’d simply like to list some places you can take yourself, your kids, or the whole family to have hours of fun and enjoyment.

Tully’s - Sure, it’s a restaurant, but with dozens of televisions sets playing all different types of sports, and a game room, combined with large plates of delicious, lip-smacking, finger-licking, kick-butt food, kids love this place.

Bowling Alleys - Midway Lanes, Sunset Lanes, and Laurel Bowl seem to be the most popular hangouts for the bowling crowd, although there are others in the area. Families will flock to these establishments when there are no leagues happening, and they offer midnight bowling, kids bumper bowling, video games, food, and fun.

There are numerous swimming pools, a few right by some of the areas famous Carousels. Just check out those parks I mentioned above, and in your neighborhoods, as many have their own pools.
Robot City is a throwback to the past for some of us older folk who grew up with the first arcades ever. Here you’ll find a large back room filled with lines and lines of old standing video games and in the county’s largest video game arcade is a long row of pinball machines for all you wizards out there. The store also offers lots of used games, and gaming systems, and more.

There are activities all around this area, especially when winter ends, and the warm months charge through the area. You’d be remiss to not find anything to do. We hope you find this article educational, and handy the next time you or the kids say, “There’s nothing to do!”
*All Venues have links.

4/08/2019

STAP's RockStar Celebrity Bartending Bash is just one week away!

 

STAP's RockStar Celebrity Bartending Bash is just one week away!

The S.T.A.P. RockStar Celebrity Bartending Bash is less than a week away, and once again promises to be the "funnest" event of the year, says STAP Director Mary Kaminsky.

The Southern Tier Aids Program is throwing their fundraising extravaganza The STAP Rockstar Celebrity Bartending Bash on Sunday, April 14th, from 4pm to 7pm at Remlik's Grille & Oyster Bar, 31 Lewis St, Binghamton.

This popular fundraising event is always well attended and last year they reached $12,000 in tips in 3 hours, helping to support the ongoing fight against Auto-Immune Deficiency Syndrom, known as A.I.D.S., of which's story was adapted into a world-famous musical in RENT.

S.T.A.P. has pulled in as much as $20,000 in the past, and hope to break that record with your help while attending a wonderful, fun-loving, entertaining, and awarding event for anyone's good soul. You can tip the bartenders anytime, as they vie for the title Top Startender 2019!

Performances take place every half hour, and will include your bartenders and these lovely entertainers:
Dusty Boxx
Monroe Sedgwick
Virginia Ham
Peaches Eclair
Steve Nanni

Your bartenders for the year come in 3 rounds as noted:

Round I
Monarco 'Rocky' DiFrancesco
Jean Graham
Kristin Merrell
Katie Trainor-Leouris

Round II
Patrick Fitzgerald
Leigh Guyette
Sherette Parker
Dena Wallan

Round III
Mille Bunker
Antonio Gobbo
Andy Kipp
Shane Rosenthal

The bartenders are all vying in a "friendly competition to win the title of Top Startender 2019", said Kaminsky. All Tips go to S.T.A.P.

STAP Director Mary Kaminsky said, "It is the funnest event of the year, very fun, and it's always a win-win situation."

There is no entry fee to the event. Anyone who requires, or desires an Uber ride home will get one free of charge. Safety first!

A.I.D.S., Auto-Immune Deficiency Syndrome became an epidemic in 

1981
The first cases of what would later become known as AIDS were reported in the United States in June of1981. Today, there are more than 1.1 million people living with HIV and more than 700,000 people with AIDS have died since the beginning of the epidemic.Mar 25, 2019 (Courtesy of https://www.kff.org/hivaids/fact-sheet/the-hivaids-epidemic-in-the-united-states-the-basics/)

Many of us watched our friends and co-workers fall one by one. Today, less than 7,000 people have A.I.D.S., reflective of the hard work scientists and groups such as S.T.A.P. have put in over the decades to end this horrible disease, which knows no limit to who it has infected over the years. Thankfully, most people are living and surviving with A.I.D.S,. now.





4/03/2019

Stars are born every day



Every minute a star is likely born. Someone with that special quality to draw the masses into them, and obtains the crowd's love and adoration.

I know one star who shines all the time

Claudia Bradley was my Pearl in Starlight Express 1991/1992 when I played Rusty the steam engine. We were lucky to record a Highlights CD/Album that year, and 30 years later our album went triple platinum, and several other CD’s have been produced, and the show was changed several years ago.


1991 Starlight Express German Highlights CD/Polydor Records

Once again, it will undergo a change for 2019/2020 with an all newly designed, choreographed and written production by the brilliant Andrew Lloyd Webber and the astonishing choreographer Arlene Phillips. Both British, both stars in their own rights!
Claudia went on to also play Pearl in the London cast of Starlight Express, Eponine and Fantine in Les Miserables, and now, 20+ years later, she created the role of Dead Mum in the award-winning Best Musical Billy Elliot on the West End.

Gaga, Cooper, Malek, Bradley, and me

I watched A Star Is Born last night, finally, along with another amazing rock star related musical and I was truly mesmerized and blown away. I completely understand the awards each entertainer, and the film won, and there’s no doubt in my mind they deserved it.


Personally, I would have made sure Bradley Cooper got a Best Actor and Best Director awards sometime during award season. Rami Malek did deserve his awards, however.
Lady Gaga sounds completely different from Claudia Bradley, but what they both could do to this highly trained ear and successful soloist, lead-actor is special. I am quite choosy about my favorite singers, and these two ladies fit the bill to the T.
I would sit down on exit steps off stage most nights of over 350 performances, and listen to Claudia sing her songs. I’d hum, or sing lightly in harmony with her. Thankfully, we had the most incredible sound technicians who were always on top of everyone’s mics backstage.
Claudia’s voice was young, vibrant, soaring, melodic, and a wonderful twinkle to the ear for anyone who adored her talent. She’d make me cry often, and she never knew it.
Lady Gaga did this for me, as well in her Blockbuster bust-out film.

Why the star discussion?

Stars are born every day! My star twinkled for a while, and I had my chances to slide onto the A-list in Hollywood having found the right connections within 10 months.
Those connections turned into moralistic choices, and eventually, I left Hollywood for Seattle, and then returned 10 months later for another 5-month kick in the butt to myself, and then followed my fiance back to her hometown, close to mine, in upstate NY.
Life happens for most potential stars. Drug habits, money problems, morals, and more can sidetrack many people’s careers, or drives to give what they have to the public, at large.
I had that opportunity, and took it for 15 years, then lost it. My story will be told in a book, as it involved what would be many lives of experiences, and rollercoaster rides for most people.

Will some stars ever shine brighter than others?

I’m 49, Claudia is well, somewhere around my age, but we won’t go there, as she still looks very young anyhow. Her star rose much higher than mine, and she always had the right business sense and determined attitude, combined with fierce public confidence that I am sure got her where she has gone.
But, I don’t believe OUR day has quite come yet. I hope with all my might, that folks like Claudia, myself, and all the other potential stars find their constellation, and shine like there is no tomorrow.
Certainly, we can name many who didn’t find their starship to the A-list until their 40’s, and just to drop two hints, we can mention Samuel Jackson and Morgan Freeman.
So, keep your eyes out for potential stars if you enjoy entertainment, and help them rise to the top. Support them, share their stuff online, listen, watch, comment and follow, and maybe one day you too, like so many times I’ve done before, can say, “hey, I knew them when, and I helped them get there!” It can be a great feeling.


This is "Becoming Great"