Government of Prince Edward Island/Flickr

As the current fatal flu season winds down, how to handle the next is on many public health officials’ minds.

Pediatrician Dr. Howard Markel is a social and cultural historian of medicine, public health and epidemics and director of the Center for the History of Medicine at the University of Michigan. He spoke with "Take Care" to discuss his research and how it can be used to prevent future flu outbreaks as bad as this season’s.

Influenza: Facts, myths and prevention

11 hours ago
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As we set out to examine influenza on "Take Care," we wanted to start out with the basics. Flu is one of those illnesses that carries with it a lot of baggage in the form of myths and tall tales. After all, hasn't anyone ever told you that you can get the flu from the vaccine? (You can't.)

Dr. Angela Campbell, medical officer in the influenza division of the CDC, joined us to share her insight into this year's flu virus and how to prevent contracting it.

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Immigrants rights advocates in Syracuse have joined a nationwide protest calling on bus companies to stop allowing Border Patrol agents to question passengers about their immigration status. Protesters say this action shines a light on an issue that’s been happening locally for years.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The worst flu season in nearly a decade has taken a toll on the nation's hospitals. The facilities have been on the front lines, dealing with a flood of patients that in some areas has reached crisis levels. In New Jersey and Alabama, some hospitals have needed triage tents just to process the surge of patients.

That hasn't been the case in Syracuse, but the rise in flu cases has swamped some local emergency departments, causing a ripple effect.

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The Syracuse Common Council and Onondaga County Legislature will soon begin live-streaming their meetings to the public. The goal is give more residents the opportunity to see their government in action.

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It’s just over a week until the state budget is due, and there’s no resolution on an array of proposed new taxes and spending proposals, as well as several unrelated items that are tied to the budget.

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The Utica Common Council has passed a budget that includes a 4.4 percent tax increase, a reduction of the spending plan submitted by the mayor.

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Medical professionals at Upstate University Hospital are urging the New York State Assembly to pass legislation that would require skiers and snowboarders under the age of 14 to wear helmets. Experts say injuries on the slopes can be more severe than accidents on bicycles.

Upstate Pediatric Trauma Medical Director Kim Wallenstein said every year, the trauma center sees about 10-20 children admitted following an accident from snow sports, and many more are seen as outpatients for things like concussions.

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in his first public comments since challenger Cynthia Nixon announced her candidacy, dismissed two days of attacks as the “political silly season.”

Nixon has laid out a case against Cuomo, claiming his administration is corrupt and he is beholden to corporate campaign donors and condones Republican control of the State Senate.

Cuomo was asked about the charges during a storm briefing in New York City.

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Local Alzheimer's advocates got on a bus early Tuesday morning and headed for Albany to push for more funding for caregivers of those with the deadly brain disease. 

Mary Koenig with the CNY Alzheimer's Association said her father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease four years ago. He lives at home, and his wife is his major caregiver. He has bouts of hallucinations, talking to people who aren’t there. It’s hard for him to get in and out of a chair.  As the disease progresses, Koenig’s biggest fear is that something happens to her mother.

Candidate for Governor of New York Cynthia Nixon delivered a blistering speech against Gov. Andrew Cuomo Monday, who she hopes to challenge in a Democratic primary.  She was immediately criticized by a Cuomo ally, who questioned Nixon’s qualifications in a controversial remark. 

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston / Flickr

New York’s Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan met privately with Gov. Andrew Cuomo Tuesday over a proposed bill to give victims of childhood sexual abuse more access to the courts. The Cardinal remains opposed to a key provision of the measure. 

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The State Assembly is proposing an additional statewide surcharge on ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft in its spending plan. The funds collected would be used on transportation services.


As the Emerald Ash Borer continues its decimation of ash trees in New York state, it has turned up this winter for the first time in Tompkins County near Ithaca.

The invasive beetle species has been eating its way across the ash trees in New York state for the last decade, destroying a once vibrant ash tree population.  Entomologist Mike Griggs from the U.S. Department of Agriculture detected the infestation in Arnot Forest last month while walking his dog. 

Nixon for Governor

Cynthia Nixon, an actress best known for her work on "Sex in the City" and a public education advocate, announced her campaign for governor of New York Monday. She wants to run in a Democratic primary against incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Nixon made her announcement in a video that shows her with her wife and children in her home, and on the streets of New York, taking her child to school and riding the subway.

“New York is my home,” Nixon said in the video, saying she grew up with her mom, a single mother, in a fifth floor walkup.

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Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) joined elected officials and activist groups in Syracuse Monday to protest the Republican tax overhaul passed by Congress in December. Demonstrators fear the tax cuts will be paid for by cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. 

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A U.S. appeals court has overturned a ruling that would have required Novelis, an Oswego County aluminum plant, to work with its employees on forming a union.

"We are very pleased with the ruling to reverse the August 2016 bargaining order of the National Labor Relations Board, which would have forced employees at the Novelis Oswego facility to accept the United Steelworkers as their bargaining representative," said plant manager Kevin Shutt in a statement. "We look forward to continuing to partner with our employees to serve our customers."

Cynthia for New York

Actress and public education advocate Cynthia Nixon announced her campaign for governor of New York in a video today. She’ll be in a Democratic primary against incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Nixon made her announcement in a video that shows her with her wife and children in her home, and on the streets of New York, taking her child to school and riding the subway.

“New York is my home,” Nixon said in the video, saying she grew up with her mom, a single mother, in a fifth floor walkup.

Governor Andrew Cuomo / Flickr

In the days since actor and progressive activist Cynthia Nixon indicated she might want to run against Andrew Cuomo in a Democratic primary for governor, Cuomo has made a number of public appearances and taken several steps to shore up his political base.

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Local criminal justice advocates are trying to put pressure on Albany to reform the justice system. 

A local coalition is trying to build support for proposed legislation in Albany that, among other things, eliminates cash bail for misdemeanors or low-level felonies.  Syracuse attorney and activist Herve Comeau said the inequalities of the cash bail system really hit home for him last December.

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Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow is calling on the Oswego Common Council to approve what he says will be the city's most effective code enforcement measure to date - a tool that would target vacant houses. 

The 200 block of West 7th Street in Oswego a quaint neighborhood. The streets are lined with well-kept homes, making the house at 213 stand out like a sore thumb. the vacant property's cement steps are crumbling, the siding is rotting and a bright orange sign on the front window warns neighbors that it's a dangerous building.

Tom Fazzio / Syracuse University

The city of Syracuse has one of the highest concentrations of poverty in the nation. How does housing discrimination and segregation factor into that? This week on the Campbell Conversations, Grant Reeher talks with Sally Santangelo, Executive Director of CNY Fair Housing. They discuss the many facets of housing discrimination in Syracuse and across central New York.

Interview highlights

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The New York State Public Service Commission has approved of National Grid rate hikes. Over the next three years, the monthly electric and gas bills of residential customers could increase by about $16 dollars. The plan includes a discount program for low-income customers.

A spokesperson for National Grid released this statement.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney has started publicly making her case over how she would like to distribute the sales tax revenue collected in the county.

Mahoney said she is worried about potential anti-city sentiment ruling the day, in negotiations that create a formula to share sales tax revenue between the county and local governments. So, she turned a portion of this year’s State of the County speech into a primer about ways the county helps town and village governments.

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The Town of Oswego in Oswego County is working to improve its finances after a state audit revealed mismanagement that contributed to the loss of nearly 90 percent of its reserves.

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Survivors of childhood sexual abuse delivered an emotional appeal to state senators Wednesday after they learned that the Senate did not put the Child Victims Act into their budget plan. The measure would offer more opportunities for survivors to gain justice in the court system.

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As part of National Walkout Day on Wednesday, high school students in Syracuse organized a rally to remember the victims of the Parkland, Florida shooting and support more gun control. Some educators hope the movement will create more politically engaged students.

Saoirse Murphy-Collins, a junior at Nottingham High School, helped organize Wednesday's protest in the school’s gym.

“The problem with gun violence is a really big issue in this nation and we’re trying to get it under control so more students don’t die and people get hurt,” Murphy-Collins said.

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An attorney representing some survivors of clergy sexual abuse is calling on both the Catholic Diocese of Syracuse and Ogdensburg to release names of all priests accused of abuse.

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High school students in Syracuse are calling for more gun control in solidarity with student walkouts across the country to honor the victims of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting. Ana Kreidler-Siwinski is a junior at Nottingham High School and helped organize a rally in the school’s gymnasium.

"I believe we shouldn’t stand by and be silent," Kreidler-Siwinski said. "Better late than never. Gun laws should be stricter in the future. If there were less easy ways for people with mental illnesses to grab guns, people with criminal records, then it would be better for society."

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

A federal jury found Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s former top aide Joe Percoco guilty on three counts of bribery and conspiracy to commit honest service fraud in a Manhattan courtroom on Tuesday.

Percoco, who has been described as being like a “brother” to the governor, was found guilty of participating in two bribery schemes, where he netted nearly $300,000.