News

Catherine Loper / WRVO News

A fiscal watchdog group is questioning the state’s century-old prevailing wage law for construction workers, saying it unnecessarily costs taxpayers billions of dollars a year in added expenses for big road, bridge and other projects.

The Empire Center, a fiscally conservative budget watchdog group, looked at the state’s constitutionally protected prevailing wage law. It requires contractors on public projects to pay their workers the amounts set in unions’ collective bargaining agreements.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

To the unknowing observer, charcoal may seem like an unlikely solution to toxic algae blooms in Owasco Lake. But that’s what Auburn city officials are hoping to use to prevent those toxins from getting into the city’s drinking water, which is sourced from the lake.

Toxins from algae are known to make humans and animals sick, and there are possible long-term health implications.

Auburn Mayor Michael Quill says active charcoal, as it’s called, is well-suited to blocking those toxins.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Developers are asking the Syracuse Industrial Development Agency for tax breaks to build a new Hampton Inn in Syracuse’s trendy Armory Square neighborhood. But it comes at a time when new hotels are sprouting up all over central New York.

SUNY / Twitter

The SUNY Board of Trustees appointed Kristina Johnson as the system's 13th chancellor Monday.

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

With Lake Ontario's waters continuing to rise. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has directed state agencies to assist communities for possible flooding. 

More than 130,000 sandbags have been deployed to the region, as residents prepare for flooding in low-elevation areas.

In some areas, sandbags have been positioned in locations that experienced flooding in the past few days and weeks. Other state assets have been staged at the regional stockpile in Monroe County.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is voicing her objection to President Donald Trump’s proposal to eliminate funding of the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities. The cuts would have a direct effect on organizations in central New York.

At the Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse, Executive Director Natalie Stetson said federal funding allows them to do special projects. Funding helped them produce a documentary called, “Boom and Bust."

Catherine Loper / WRVO News

State legislators are due back at the Capitol Monday, following a break for Easter and Passover after they passed the new state budget. It contained numerous non-spending items -- like free public college tuition for some middle class students and an expansion of ride-hailing services. So what, if anything, do lawmakers still need to do before adjourning in June?

The Senate and Assembly are scheduled to meet for around two more months this year, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo, speaking a week after the budget was approved, told reporters that there isn’t much left to do.

Rep. John Katko / Facebook

Water levels continue rising along the southern shore of Lake Ontario. And while it’s unclear if Plan 2014 -- an initiative that changed the way water levels on the lake are controlled -- is responsible for the flooding, it’s put the controversial plan under the microscope.

The principal recommendation of the final report of the Consensus Commission on Local Government Modernization is to establish a new municipal form of government for Onondaga County, with a single executive and a 33-seat legislature. While public forums and town hall meetings have been held to discuss the report, and the proposal has been both criticized and defended in the media, missing is a direct exchange between opposing views, with opportunities for challenge and rebuttal.

Small NY cities wonder whether to fund stadiums

Apr 22, 2017
Gabe Altieri / WSKG News

Public money is often used to fund stadium upgrades. Elected officials say it builds up a local economy by attracting businesses, who want to set up nearby, and people, who spend their dollars in the city.

That claim is debated in major league cities around the country. But what about smaller cities, like Elmira and Binghamton? Could stadiums benefit those economies?

Nola Agha, a researcher at the University of San Francisco, set out to find the impact of minor league baseball stadiums on local economies.

Eelke / Flickr

With so many health products and practices promising to provide quick fixes to all that ails us, it can be difficult to discern which ones actually work. But for doctors and medical researchers, the question of effectiveness becomes an opportunity for clinical studies.

To find out more about some of these studies, “Take Care” spoke with Dr. Joann Manson, a professor of medicine at Harvard University, and chief of the Division of Preventive Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

The dangers of drowsy driving

Apr 22, 2017
ZACK MCCARTHY / Flickr

Every day, many of us drive cars, and every night, we’re meant to get seven to eight hours of sleep. But sometimes, seven to eight is more like four to five, and this can have some nasty effects behind the wheel. In fact, over one-third of drivers on the road right now didn’t get enough sleep last night.

So, what does this mean for the safety of our roads? To find out, “Take Care” spoke with Jake Nelson, director of traffic safety advocacy and research for AAA.

Why sleep deprivation & driving don't mix

Apr 21, 2017
Saurabh Mishra / Flickr

Much attention has been given to the dangers of driving while drunk. But, if you're sleep deprived and you get behind the wheel, it can be just as risky. This week on WRVO's health and wellness show "Take Care," hosts Lorraine Rapp and Linda Lowen speak with Jake Nelson, director of traffic safety advocacy and research for AAA, about the dangers of drowsy driving.

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

Residents who live along the shoreline of Lake Ontario have been trying to stay ahead of rising water levels that are threatening their properties.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

Environmental advocates say that New York state officials could do a better job of cleaning up pollution sites caused by the fossil fuels industry that they say in some cases, have dragged on for decades. Cuomo’s environmental aides defend their record.

An Ithaca-based environmental research group analyzed data on dozens of alleged toxic spills for just one company -- Exxon Mobil.

Tom Magnarelli / Facebook / WRVO News / Facebook

Four diverse Democratic candidates are competing for a diverse, open district council seat in Syracuse. The district encompasses Syracuse University, a burgeoning downtown and some of the highest concentrations of poverty in the city.  

The candidates are all close in age, ranging from 29 to 31, but they are all bringing something different to the race. Jeremy DeChario runs a food cooperative in the Westcott neighborhood.

SUNY Oswego / Facebook

After a week of criticism from the left and the right of the political spectrum, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget director is among those defending the state’s new free public college tuition program for some middle-class students.

Conservatives say Cuomo was just trying to win a headline for a potential 2020 presidential campaign by convincing the state Legislature to enact a plan to offer free tuition to middle-class students attending public colleges and universities.

Campbell Public Affairs Institute

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney launched a new website to correct what she calls bad information regarding the Consensus recommendations on government consolidation. This comes after a debate was held at Syracuse University last week regarding the proposed city-county government merger.

Utica College

Some New York lawmakers and college administrators are worried about what the state's new free tuition policy at SUNY and CUNY could mean for private schools, including those at Utica College. The private college just cut its tuition rate by 42 percent last fall.

Onasill ~ Bill Badzo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the recently enacted state budget included the majority of the priorities that he named in his January State of the State message, including raising the age for adult criminal responsibility from 16 to 18, providing free public college tuition for some middle-class families and allowing ride-hailing services to operate upstate.

Topics such as ethics reform were left out of the final budget package for a reason, the governor said.

Vipal / Creative Commons

Gov. Andrew Cuomo got a lot of what he wanted in the state budget passed earlier this month. But the governor didn't get his way when it came to funding for K-12 education.

He wanted to scrap the basic formula for determining how much funding schools will get – called foundation aid. Lawmakers decided to keep that in place. They also added more than a billion dollars to the funding pot, which comes after years of financial cuts at the K-12 level.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Legislators from the Mohawk Valley say they are disappointed with this year's budget process, but pleased with the outcome.

Southern Arkansas University / Flickr

As gambling casinos continue to open up across the state, the shadow of compulsive gambling grows larger. One Syracuse area gambling addiction clinic is already booked.

Right now, the Syracuse Behavioral Healthcare Gambling Clinic can handle 15 patients at a time, according to integrated outpatient service director Kathi Meadows. And often that’s not enough.

“We actually had people who were coming that we successfully completed. They would have stayed longer, but there was a need to complete them, so we could get more people in the door,” said Meadows.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Two more Democratic candidates are running for two open councilor-at-large seats in the city of Syracuse. Although they come from different backgrounds, both share hopeful visions for the city’s future.

It's Kyle Madden’s first time running for office. A native of Rochester, Madden, 30, oversees Syracuse's public parking garages and ran Mayor Stephanie Miner’s reelection campaign.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

A residency requirement for college students seeking free tuition at New York’s public colleges is drawing criticism. Gov. Andrew Cuomo defended the late addition to the plan, approved as part of the state budget earlier this month.

Cuomo proudly touted the free tuition program for some middle-class students passed in the week-late state budget, appearing with former first lady and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at LaGuardia Community College in Queens on April 12.

Jason Smith / WRVO News

Residents along the southern shore of Lake Ontario are trying to protect their property from potential flooding as water levels continue to rise.

Courtesy Hannah Ring / Citizens Campaign for the Environment

Local environmental activists are putting pressure on Onondaga County to change advisory signs about eating fish caught in Onondaga Lake.

Everyone agrees the fish in Onondaga Lake are a testament to a legacy of pollution, and shouldn’t be a staple in anyone’s diet -- especially pregnant women and children.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Central New York legislators are split on the recent state budget process. While some see significant gains, others see missed opportunities and purely political motivations.

State Sen. David Valesky with the Independent Democratic Conference said there is a lot to be pleased about in the state's new spending plan.

“By and large I think this was a tremendously successful state budget,” Valesky said.

The budget includes infrastructure investments, college affordability and raising the age of criminal responsibility to 18 years old.

Edgewater Resources

After a year of gathering input, Edgewater Resources has unveiled its final plan for how to transform Oswego's waterfront area along Lake Ontario. The consultant's latest draft calls for two flat rock beaches, an expansion of the marina and overhauling the pier with an elevated sand beach, restaurants and a recreational green space for community events.

Edgewater President Greg Weykamp says it delivers on the community's desire for more access to Lake Ontario.

Katie Keier / Flickr

Several central and northern New York legislators are praising the state's new budget as a win for the region's schools, but they say it was a hard-fought battle that is not over yet.

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