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A judge is upholding city of Watertown's decision to break its contract with the local firefighter union.

City leaders opted last month to stop paying overtime if one to two firefighters call out sick. That can cause the minimum number of employees on a given shift at the fire department to drop from 15 to 13, which violates the union's contract. Watertown City Manager Sharon Addison says the decision allows the city to save money.

Denise Krebs / Flickr

Over the past decade, there has been an uptick in children with peanut allergies. The usual recommendation is children that are high risk for the allergy to avoid all peanut products before the age of three. A recent study is challenging the idea of total peanut avoidance. The LEAP study has come out with new guidelines that might prevent high risk children from developing the allergy.

 

Julia Botero / WRVO News File Photo

A new study argues that New York state leaders needs to substantially ramp up their green investments to protect the climate.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The developers of two historic buildings in downtown Syracuse are seeking tax breaks from the city. The Whitney Lofts project would feature 16 new apartments, a restaurant and a speakeasy bar.

The tax breaks total more than $200,000 on sales and mortgage taxes. Deputy Commissioner for Business Development Nora Spillane said the redevelopment would add new excitement to the 300 block of S. Salina St.

WRVO News (file photo)

Many college students will tell you one of the best ways to secure a good job after graduating is to find an internship. That’s an easy enough task, but finding one that’s paid can be a little more challenging.

Abbey Buttacavoli is a junior at SUNY Oswego. She couldn’t pursue an internship with a company she wanted to work for because it didn’t provide pay.

“It just wouldn't have worked,” Buttacavoli said. “And I wish it could have, because it is a really good opportunity, but not having that financial support or stability is not an option.”

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

There’s a new way for disabled motorists to get help on a couple of major interstate highways in Onondaga County. 

The State Department of Transportation has expanded the HELP Roadside Service to central New York. Assistant DOT Commissioner Sean Hennessey says the emergency local service has started patrolling a 70-mile stretch of Interstate’s 81 and 690 during morning and evening rush hour.

Dennis van Zuijlekom / via Flickr

By the end of next month, New York State residents that were issued pistol permits before January 2013 will have to recertify their permits with state police. The provision, which is part of the state’s 2013 SAFE Act, has caused confusion among local residents.

Oswego County Clerk Mike Backus said every day, his office receives calls or people come in and ask about the deadline to recertify pistol permits.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo shared a tense exchange with WRVO's capitol correspondent Karen Dewitt Wednesday when she asked what the state was doing to confront sexual assault. The Democratic governor said Dewitt  did "a disservice to women" by minimizing the issue of harassment to state government.

Crouse Hospital

Three small North Country hospitals have become affiliated with Crouse Hospital in Syracuse.

River Hospital, Carthage Area Hospital and Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center have all signed an affiliation agreement with Crouse. But Crouse CEO Kimberley Boynton says they will maintain independence and provide local service while getting much-needed support support and expertise.

“This is the future, and some areas are far head of us and where we are," Boynton said. "In central New York, we still have a large number of independent hospitals.”

kolbfornewyork.com

There’s now one official candidate running for governor of New York in 2018, and that’s the Assembly’s Republican leader, Brian Kolb.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The city of Syracuse was selected as the location for the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs Annual Conference and Expo for three years starting in 2019. But some officials are questioning who gets credit for Syracuse’s win.

The convention features 300 exhibitors, workshops and hands-on training. Visit Syracuse President and CEO Danny Liedka said the last time Syracuse hosted was in 2005.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

An international panel is asking businesses and property owners along Lake Ontario to complete an online survey about flood damage from record water levels this spring and summer.

The International Joint Commission says the survey takes about 10 to 25 minutes. The deadline to take it is Dec. 31.

The joint U.S.-Canadian panel says the survey gathers information on the extent of flooding, erosion, damage to shoreline structures and damage to homes and businesses.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

The deputy leader of the state Senate said 2018 will be a difficult year for balancing the state budget.

Sen. John DeFrancisco, R-Syracuse, predicted cutbacks in health care spending to help close a multibillion-dollar deficit.

DeFrancisco said the state’s $4.4 billion projected deficit, combined with potential effects of the federal tax overhaul on New York, will make the next state budget the most difficult one in at least seven years.

“It’s going to be a horrible budget,” DeFrancisco said.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Four churches in Syracuse have joined a growing number of religious organizations across the country that have declared themselves sanctuaries for illegal immigrants. The new Interfaith Sanctuary Coalition has formed to stand in solidarity with undocumented immigrants.

State Sen. John DeFrancisco / Facebook

At an event that’s become increasingly rare in state politics, two politicians from opposing parties sat down together and had a civil discussion about issues facing New York.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, a Democrat, and Republican state Sen. John DeFrancisco spoke in Albany during a forum about state issues and politics. 

“To have a vibrant civic dialogue is important,” said Miner. “The fact that it’s been missing, we’ve all suffered for it.”

DeFrancisco, who also is from Syracuse, agreed.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) sent out letters to the owners of the 45 properties located within the proposed footprint for its new hospital in downtown Utica. It's one of the most contentious aspects of the project since the properties include historical buildings and existing businesses.

Several people who attended a public forum for the new hospital last week expressed their frustration over the matter to MVHS officials present, including Pastor Chris Tringali, who says it will cause his nondenominational church on Columbia Street to close.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Utica residents got to weigh in recently on how the city will go about its effort to improve the lives of lower-income residents.

People packed the gymnasium at the Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School during the poverty town hall meeting, casting their votes for five projects aimed at eliminating the barriers that prevent people from moving out of poverty.

The most popular project was a 24-hour child care center. Shamika Rather says she recently had to quit a job because of a lack of child care options.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Syracuse Mayor-elect Ben Walsh is hosting events to hear residents’ concerns before he takes office. Walsh has also organized a transition team and has begun hiring his administration.

Amid climate change, tiny bug causes big problems

Dec 9, 2017
Caitlin Whyte / Great Lakes Today

The hemlock woolly adelgid is almost impossible to see with the naked eye. But the tiny insect causes lots of damage to hemlock trees and their surroundings. That's likely to get even more serious as a warming climate allows it to move further north.

On a rainy day, City Forester Jeanne Grace takes me on a tour of the City Cemetery where tall, evergreen trees hang over many of the graves. Hemlock trees.

The cemetery has the peace and quiet of any cemetery, but if you take a closer look at the hemlocks -- real close -- you’ll spot the hemlock woolly adelgid.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

According to published reports, some of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s hiring practices are the subject of an FBI investigation.

A safe and happy holiday is within reach

Dec 9, 2017
Isabell Hubert / flickr

The much-anticipated holiday season is full of joy, but it’s also full of dashing through the snow to the mall with a cold to get some last-minute gifts. It’s seeing relatives you wished you could spend time with more often and some you wish you could write off altogether. And while setting up your Christmas light display makes the grandkids happy, it also means getting up on your very steep roof.

Like anything, the holiday season has pros and cons. In this holiday special, we’ll try to get you off on the right foot. Whether it’s staying healthy, keeping track of your finances in this busy spending time, or focusing on the positive when you’re hosting 20 relatives for dinner -- there are ways to start off 2018 relatively unscathed. First, we’ll focus on physical health.

For most people the holidays are a happy and healthy time, but some people do end up in the emergency room. Injuries seen in emergency facilities around the holidays include falls, cuts and back pain, among others. Most occur because, around the holidays, people are doing things they don't normally -- like reaching for heavy boxes in the attic.

This week on a special hour-long edition of "Take Care," we examine some holiday-related injuries with Dr. Michael Boniface, an emergency room doctor at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida.

Mohawk Valley Health System

A public forum on the proposed new hospital in downtown Utica featured a very divided audience Thursday. The meeting that was intended to generate feedback about the hospital’s first design plans often devolved into arguments about whether the facility should even be built in that location.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The New York State Department of Transportation has selected an active rail yard in the town of DeWitt as the location for a central New York inland port. This comes after years of waiting for a decision on a few different sites.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

County leaders across New York are the latest to complain about the tax overhaul plan now being crafted in Congress. They predict higher taxes for many New Yorkers, declining home prices and slowed economic growth.

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy said the federal tax bill will lead to many middle- and upper-class New Yorkers paying higher taxes because of the proposed end to state and local tax deductions. And he said the state’s over $4 billion projected deficit and potential funding cuts aren’t helping either.

“Brace yourselves,” McCoy said.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO File Photo

The director of the Port of Oswego Authority resigned this week. The move comes as New York state's inspector general is investigating the port.

With no explanation given, the Port of Oswego's board of directors said in a statement Tuesday that it had accepted the resignation of Zelko Kirincich. Kirincich, who has served as executive director at the port since 2014, is leaving his position as the New York State Inspector General continues an investigation into the port.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

New York State Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer said if net neutrality rules are repealed by the Federal Communications Commission, it would benefit only the most powerful and wealthy. The rules require Internet service companies to provide the same service to everyone equally.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

New York faces fiscal challenges in 2018, but that has not stopped groups from asking for more money in the new state budget, including agencies that provide care to people with disabilities. 

Chanting, “Be fair to direct care,” about 200 New Yorkers with developmental disabilities, along with their family members and caregivers, gathered in a reception area outside Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office Wednesday to ask for more help in paying the workers more money. 

Greg Craybas

Onondaga County lawmakers have agreed to go ahead and spend $1.5 million building a bike trail extension on Murphy’s Island as part of the Loop the Lake trail project. Legislators have one request - that the county make accommodations for bald eagles that roost in the area.

This afternoon, tune in for live coverage from NPR News on WRVO. President Trump is expected to make remarks at 1 p.m. He plans to recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, reversing decades of U.S. foreign policy.

You'll hear continued coverage during "Here and Now" this afternoon and more analysis on "All Things Considered" later today. As always, updates are available from NPR.

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