The Citizen's top five most-read stories of the work week.
Firefighters spend hours at blaze on Genesee Street in Auburn
AUBURN — Auburn firefighters spent several hours battling a house fire Tuesday afternoon.
Several Auburn Fire Department vehicles were on the scene, and a hose from a ladder truck was being used to douse the second story at 268 Genesee St.
Auburn Fire Department Assistant Chief Mike Grady said a call came in around 2:58 p.m. about a building with smoke and fire coming out at different points.
AFD personnel were still at the scene between Delevan and Sherwood streets after 6 p.m. but no fire or smoke was visible at that point. An Auburn City Ambulance was standing by at the scene, which is next door to Spoon and Fork Asia Cuisine.
Traffic was blocked around the area and clusters of people stood by and watched the firefighting operations.
There were no reports of injuries.
'It's not fair at all': Benefit to support Auburn girl with tumor, rare condition
Evelyn Faith Gagliano has a rare condition in her left arm.
The veins and arteries there connect abnormally, causing the Auburn 4-year-old severe pain. Known as arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), they'll cause her that and more for the rest of her life. The harder her heart pumps, the bigger they grow — and the more attention they draw. She also carries a high risk of blood clots, and regularly takes baby aspirin to prevent them.
For Evelyn and her parents, Joe and Lindsey Gagliano, her AVMs already seemed like more bad luck than most girls her age could have.
Then, three weeks ago, doctors found a tumor in her spine.
Located at the top of her neck, the tumor will be removed May 25. It's an osseous neoplasm, which is benign, but it could become malignant later. It's also adding significantly to Evelyn's pain.
After the surgery, the 4-year-old and her family will still face a lifetime of managing her condition. But they won't face it alone, as the Auburn community is coming together to support them.
A benefit event, Faith for Evelyn, will be held Wednesday evening at Tinkers Guild on Franklin Street. Proceeds from sales of $4 beers, hot dogs and raffle basket tickets will help offset the financial costs of the family's situation. A GoFundMe with a goal of $25,000 has also been launched by longtime family friend Mary Martin. As of Tuesday, it had raised almost $36,000.
"It's not fair at all, what this little girl has had to go through in her four short years already," Martin told The Citizen.
The tumor isn't related to the AVMs, Martin said, but the pain of both requires 24/7 medication. It was a chiropractor who noticed the tumor in Evelyn's MRIs when seeing her for the pain in her neck.
Despite that pain, Evelyn was in good spirits when Martin saw her on Tuesday. She loves to sing and dance, though she can't take classes due to her condition. She also loves being outside, especially playgrounds, and Peppa Pig. She and Martin's son, Luca, are three weeks apart and inseparable, Martin added. Evelyn often asks for "her boyfriend," and tells him she loves him.
A normal life will lie out of reach for Evelyn long after the tumor is removed. As she grows during adolescence, doctors will have to monitor her closely to make sure her AVMs grow proportionally. Most of them are located in her upper and lower arm muscles. Some are located just under the skin of her hand and thumb, which can lead to stares when she's in public, Martin said.
"She'll never not have them. There is no cure. Just a lifetime's worth of battles," she said. "It's going to be a fight."
Clots, infections and hemorrhages will always be concerns for Evelyn as well. AVMs, which are estimated to affect 10 in 100,000 people by the National Organization for Rare Disorders, can even lead to congestive heart failure. Along with preventing that, the Gagliano family hopes they can find a doctor who is able to control the pain their daughter endures every day, Martin said.
Lindsey left work in September to care for Evelyn, Martin continued. Joe, who has multiple sclerosis, owns vehicle repair shop Xcelerated Auto on Grant Avenue. They also have a 9-year-old son, Joey.
"They are very positive, wonderful people. I don't have enough good words to say about them," Martin said. "The way this community has come together for them is incredible."
'I was needed': Auburn-area Marine Corps veteran, 91, is first woman to take D.C. trip
The last time Anne Greer visited Washington, D.C., it was as a Marine's wife.
The next time, it will be as a Marine herself.
Greer, 91, of Throop, will be the first woman veteran from Cayuga County to tour the nation's capital and see its war memorials and other historic sights as part of Operation Enduring Gratitude. The program, created by Knights of Columbus Council No. 207, has provided three-day, all-expenses-paid trips to Washington for local veterans since 2012. A second trip took place in 2017.
The third trip, taking place next weekend, will be the first time Greer has visited the capital since 1970. That was because the U.S. Marine Corps, to her surprise, selected her as its finalist for the Military Wife of the Year award. Her husband, Richard, was in the middle of serving 30 years in the corps and its reserves, including combat deployments in the Korean and Vietnam wars.
The award was announced at a May banquet at the Omni Shoreham Hotel. Greer didn't win, but the five-day trip was "marvelous," she told The Citizen on Wednesday.
Unlike most military wives, however, Greer served the country during the same war as her husband.
As a private first class Marine, she worked in shipping and receiving at Parris Island and Camp Lejeune in 1952 and 1953, sending gear to Korea. Back then, she noted, women themselves weren't sent to war unless they were medical personnel. But Greer enjoyed her work, as it was similar to her job before the war at the Red Star Express trucking company headquartered in Auburn.
The same year the war ended, Greer left the Marines to have John, her first of four children with Richard. He and his siblings Margaret, Maureen and Kevin were all born at military bases.
Greer knew firsthand what it was like to have parents in the armed forces. Her father, Emmett McNabb, was the first man from Onondaga County wounded in World War I, and a plaque in Shotwell Park in Skaneateles bears his name. Greer's four brothers and two brothers-in-law served as well. That's why, when the Korean War began, enlisting was an easy decision, she said.
"I thought I was needed," she said. "We were born with flags in our hands."
Greer said she will be thinking about Richard, who passed away in 2010, as she sees Arlington National Cemetery, the Marine Barracks and other sights in Washington next weekend.
The trip will likely be the last for Operation Enduring Gratitude, said Dave Pappert, its coordinator. Greer is among the last World War II, Korea and Vietnam veterans for the program to accommodate.
"We're absolutely thrilled to have her," he said. "This is something we've been looking forward to."
Greer said she was asked to take the trip a few years ago and declined, believing it's meant for the men who served overseas.
But this year she agreed to go, and now she's looking forward to meeting her fellow veterans, or at least the ones she doesn't know already, as she returns to Washington next weekend.
"I think it's going to be a great experience," she said.
Gallery: 2017 Operation Enduring Gratitude
Murderer who met wife at Auburn prison granted parole at age 88
A man imprisoned by New York state for the past 59 years for strangling and raping a teenage girl has been granted parole at age 88.
James R. Moore, a former landscaper from the Rochester area, is scheduled to be released around June 6, after the state parole board granted him parole after his previous 20 requests were denied, the Democrat & Chronicle reported Tuesday. The decision came after his most recent parole hearing in late April.
Moore, New York's longest-serving prison inmate, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison for the 1962 killing of 14-year-old Pamela Moss, of Penfield. Authorities said Moore attacked the girl on a trail near her home, strangled and raped her, and dumped her body in a water-filled gravel pit.
While confessing to the killing, Moore told police he had sexually molested at least 17 other girls and admitted he raped a 9-year-old girl, authorities said. He pleaded guilty to Moss' murder in order to avoid the death penalty and was sentenced to life without parole. However, changes to state law later made him eligible for parole every two years.
Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley said she and her predecessors had opposed Moore's numerous parole requests.
“I am deeply saddened by this news,” Doorley said Tuesday. "It is a disservice to Pamela’s family.”
Officials with the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision said Moore does not yet have an approved post-release residence.
In appearances before the parole board in past years, Moore had said his plan was to live with his wife in Cayuga County.
Judge John Lomenzo sentenced Moore in 1963. He spent the next decade at Attica Correctional Facility, working as a dental assistant, school teacher and administrative assistant in the prison. In 1973, he was moved to Auburn Correctional Facility, where he later met and eventually married Joyce Smith, a volunteer coordinator of the prison's arts programming.
Moore spent more than two decades in Auburn, where he earned several business degrees and worked as a clerk and machinist before being transferred to Collins Correctional Facility in Gowanda in 1999. From there, he was sent to Cayuga Correctional Facility, and in 2011 when he was transferred to Franklin Correctional Facility in Malone.
Moore is currently being held in the medical unit at Coxsackie Correctional Facility.
Smith, who now lives in Auburn after being a Moravia resident for several years, could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.
Raise a Pint for Ukraine: Family's story inspires Auburn fundraiser
Growing up in Auburn, cousins Maryanne and Anna Latanyshyn knew their Ukrainian heritage was not only understood, but appreciated.
"I never had to explain what being Ukrainian was to anyone. Nobody assumed I was Russian," Maryanne told The Citizen. "We always had that community support to aspire to be the best we can."
That support became even more apparent to the Latanyshyns when they left Auburn — Maryanne when she was 17 and Anna when she was 9. Everywhere they've lived since has lacked it. They know that's partly because none of those places had populations with such a high percentage of Ukrainian heritage. Cayuga County, with 2.3%, has the highest of any county in New York.
Still, there's something about Auburn that's uniquely supportive of Ukraine and its people, the Latanyshyns said. They were reminded of that recently during a serendipitous meeting downtown.
Maryanne, who now lives in New York City, returned to the area in March to meet her cousin Sarah at Shepherds Brewing Co. Sarah, who lives in Auburn, is sister to Anna, who lives in Atlanta.
They didn't just meet for a beer, but to brainstorm. The month before, when the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, they were contacted by another cousin on Facebook, Anna Rempel. An attorney in Germany, she's the president of Feine Ukraine, a relief organization providing humanitarian aid there. In her message, she asked her cousins for any help they could send.
The Latanyshyns mostly knew Rempel through social media. Only Maryanne had met her in person. When she asked her cousins to help their ancestral country, however, they didn't hesitate.
"None of that matters when your family is in crisis," Maryanne said.
She and Sarah were talking about how they could help when they were overheard by Shepherds owner Garrett Shepherd. On the spot, he offered to host a fundraiser for Feine Ukraine. Word spread to Lynn Varley, owner of Moondog's Lounge, who was organizing a musical benefit, Shining the Moon on Ukraine. Originally planned for March, it was postponed due to COVID-19.
Varley, Shepherd and the Latanyshyns then agreed to merge the two events, and bring more downtown venues aboard, for Raise a Pint for Ukraine. Taking place this Sunday afternoon at 10 bars and restaurants, it will collect proceeds from food and beverage sales for both Feine Ukraine and the relief fund organized by SS. Peter & Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church in Auburn.
(See below for a full list of participating venues and their events.)
The money will not only go to Rempel's organization, it will maybe help some of the many relatives the Latanyshyns have inside Ukraine. For safety reasons, they declined to say any more about them.
"It's really bad," Maryanne said. "They desperately need assistance."
If their last name is Latanyshyn, she continued, they're probably related to her. The oldest two sons of the family, which she compared to a Scottish clan, were forcibly removed to labor camps from their ancestral lands in an ethnically Ukrainian area of Poland in 1939. One, Nikolai, was brought to Soviet Ukraine, where he later died as a young father working on a collective farm.
The other of those two sons, Michael, was liberated in Munich as World War II came to an end. He and his young family, which included Anna and Sarah's parents, settled in Auburn in 1951.
Another son, John, settled in the city in 1962. Maryanne, his daughter, is to her knowledge the first member of the family born in the U.S. She didn't learn English until she was 4.
In Auburn, amid a wave of Ukrainian immigrants during and after the war, Maryanne remembers cultural activities like dancing and picnics, seeing the country's flag flying at City Hall, and attending school and church at SS. Peter & Paul. Anna was more integrated into American culture, but she remembers keeping track, always, of what was happening in her family's homeland.
That historically close connection with Ukraine is what makes it so hard to watch what's happening there now, Anna said.
"We're feeling a very specific, intergenerational trauma," she said. "We know what our parents and grandparents went through to be here in the U.S., and it's hard to see these same events unfold."
Likewise, Sunday's benefit is so meaningful to the Latanyshyns because they know they money they raise will go somewhere close to them — even if much of that money will come from strangers.
"We're so fortunate people outside the Ukrainian community are so willing to help us," Anna said. "I'll never forget that kindness."
Gallery: People rally to support Ukraine on the steps of city hall in Auburn