News

Melinda Shelton / Flickr

Efforts to raise expectations for New York’s teachers have stalled. In 2014, the state rolled out four new, tougher teacher certification tests. But last week the state delayed the requirement.

The Board of Regents cited low pass rates on the new tests as reason for the delay. So they created a “safety net.” Until next June, teachers who fail to pass the new exams can get certified in other ways. The state wants to give would-be teachers more time to adjust.

But SUNY Cortland School of Education dean Andrea LaChance doesn't want to adjust.

bdrogin / Flickr

A New York State senator wants to make sure that veterans discharged from the military because of their sexual orientation can qualify for state programs.

New York has 53 programs for veterans, according to State Sen. Brad Hoylman of Manhattan. Those include scholarships, health screenings, and reimbursements for burial costs.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Syracuse-area Rep. John Katko is touring schools in central New York this week, looking for ways to strengthen education policy.

It’s a story Katko says he’s heard again and again: federally mandated standardized testing is stifling teaching flexibility, and forcing all children to be taught in a one-size-fits-all curriculum. To make his point at a news conference Tuesday, he read a letter he received from an Onondaga County sixth grader, upset at the way he sees test prep taking over schools.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

New York state has a new education commissioner. The New York State board of Regents, after a lengthy closed door session, chose MaryEllen Elia, a former western New York school teacher who was most recently the superintendent of a large school district in Florida.

Elia, a Lewiston, NY native who taught in public schools in the Buffalo suburb of Amherst early in her career, says she is glad to be “coming home” after many years away.

Zach Hirsch / NCPR

This summer, Army officials say they’ll pull the plug on a post-traumatic stress treatment program for Fort Drum soldiers. It’s the program at the River Hospital in Alexandria Bay, about a half hour away from the base. Under the Army’s orders, it’ll be replaced with mental health services on Fort Drum.

North Country Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-Willsboro) says she’s urging the Army to reconsider.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

A new poll finds Gov. Andrew Cuomo with the lowest approval ratings since he took office, in a year where corruption scandals have dominated news at the Capitol.  

The Siena College survey is the second in a month that shows the governor’s support eroding.  Only 41 percent think Cuomo is doing a good job in office, though he’s still viewed favorably overall by 53 percent of voters.  The Democrat governor fared the worst with New York City and Republican voters.

NYS Assembly

The future of the state’s property tax cap is one of the big items on the docket as state lawmakers head back to Albany to finish up the current session. Supporters of the tax cap, including business groups, Republicans in the state Senate and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, are pushing to make the tax cap permanent. 

Syracuse-area Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli thinks the tax cap has worked.

"I think it has been successful in keeping property taxes down,” said Magnarelli.

Decaseconds / Flickr

New York’s Public Service Commission is considering a price increase request by the New York State Electric and Gas Corporation.
 
The average customer’s natural gas bill would increase by $10 a month and their electricity bill would increase $8 a month under NYSEG’s request.
 

Mike Mozart / Flickr

Central New York emergency medical technicians have increasingly been on the lookout for liquid nicotine overdoses.  

As the use of smokeless e-cigarettes continues to grow, more and more liquid nicotine is ending up in the homes of Americans. And it’s not safe, says Upstate Medical University toxicologist Nicholas Nacca.

Internet service may soon flow faster In New York

May 26, 2015
Bret Jaspers / WSKG News

Despite the importance of the Internet to our daily lives, service can be unreliable, slow, or expensive, especially in rural areas. Local governments and businesses are waiting on details of how they can apply for $500 million of state money -- money that will be used, with private sector dollars, for broadband infrastructure projects.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

A political newcomer is running for the seat on the Onondaga County legislature, currently held by legislature Chairman Ryan McMahon. Tim Rudd says he’s a candidate in the district that includes parts of the city of Syracuse and the town of Geddes.

Rudd had one issue to talk about in his introductory news conference: campaign ethics.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The Central New York Vietnam Veterans of America held their annual watchfire at the New York State Fairgrounds last night. Thousands of people came to honor the memory of those who have served.

River Hospital

A program at River Hospital in Alexandria Bay, N.Y., that treats soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder will end in July. The Army issued orders to move mental health treatment onto military installations.

Ben Moore, the program’s director, said his staff successfully treated more than 250 soldiers with PTSD since 2012.

"I was absolutely stunned," Moore said. "I had no warning. Now we're going to have to figure out how we adapt to this.”

ExperienceSymphoria.org

Symphoria, a cooperative orchestra in central New York where the musicians are the owners, announced its new 2015-16 season. And, with the upcoming season, Symphoria's new music director is focused on making the orchestra more accessible to the public.

As orchestras in major cities across the country experience declining ticket sales, Syracuse's Symphoria is ahead of track on their subscription sales for next season. Larry Loh, who will officially begin as the music director of Symphoria this fall, admits growing an audience for the orchestra is challenging.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

It’s time for emergency rooms to prepare for typical summertime injuries involving children. Often that means accidents involving kids on bikes, skateboards or scooters. One Syracuse hospital says the worst of those injuries can be avoided.

When 10-year-old Michael Caltabiano of Syracuse heads out on his bike, he always wears a helmet. And when he sees other kids without one, he has a message for them:

"I tell them that wearing a helmet, keeps them out of the hospital. It’s a great, great idea."

Karen Dewitt / WRVO

There’s a push by business groups and Republicans in the New York State Senate, as well as Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, to make the state’s 2 percent per year property tax cap permanent. Backers have issued a report to bolster their views, and say public opinion is on their side.    

Gas Free Seneca

Federal regulators have denied opponents’ arguments against a proposed natural gas storage facility near Watkins Glen.

Arlington Storage Company wants to build two natural gas storage facilities next to Seneca Lake. Arlington is a subsidiary of Houston-based Crestwood Equity Partners. One of the storage facilities would hold natural gas and the other is for liquefied petroleum gas, or LPG. The federal government is reviewing the natural gas project.
 

marknewell / Flickr

Nurses who provide care to cancer patients do some of the most emotionally difficult work there is in medicine. The life and death situations they routinely face can lead to what was once known as burnout, but is now called "compassion fatigue." The issue is compounded by the ethical dilemmas that frequently surround end-of-life treatment decisions made by physicians and family members.

This week on “Take Care,” Pattie Jakel discusses the ethics of oncology nursing. Jakel is a clinical nurse specialist in the Solid Oncology Program at the UCLA Santa Monica Hospital, Santa Monica, California. She has a master’s degree in nursing and has published studies on the ethical conflicts of oncology nursing.

Green thumb, healthy plate

May 24, 2015
Vicki Moore / Flickr

Vegetables that people grow themselves have benefits not available through any other source. If you want salad for dinner, you can walk into your own garden and pick it yourself. You know nobody else has handled it, it hasn't traveled miles to your table and you're getting all of nature's nutrients at their peak.

So how hard is it to grow a vegetable garden? This week on “Take Care,” Marie Iannotti recommends five healthy vegetables that are also easy to grow for the modest gardener. Iannotti is a longtime master gardener, a former Cornell Cooperative Extension horticulture educator, master gardener program coordinator, and a member of the Garden Writer's Association and The Garden Conservancy. She's the author of two gardening books and is the gardening expert at About.com.

Matt Zeller

For eight months in 2008, Matt Zeller was an Army Lieutenant acting as an embedded trainer with Afghan security forces in the Ghazni Province.  Following that, he was a CIA analyst, ran for Congress, and authored a book about his war experiences.  In this edition of the Campbell Conversations, he speaks in powerful and unvarnished terms about his time in Afghanistan, his struggles upon his return to the States, and the shortcomings of American foreign policy in the Middle East.

Note: This broadcast originally aired in February 2013.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Democrats in Onondaga County have nominated the candidates they want to see on the ballot in 2015. Toby Shelley, a former Onondaga County sheriff's deputy, will run for county executive against Republican incumbent Joanie Mahoney. Last year, Shelley ran and lost the race for Onondaga County Sheriff.

Onondaga County Democratic Committee Chairman Mark English says Democrats made a hard push to get candidates to run for 12 positions in the Onondaga County Legislature this year. 

Nurses who provide care to cancer patients do some of the most emotionally difficult work there is in medicine. This week on WRVO's health and wellness show "Take Care," hosts Lorraine Rapp and Linda Lowen interview Pattie Jakel, a clinical nurse specialist in the Oncology Program at the UCLA Santa Monica Hospital in California. They discuss the ethical dilemmas oncology nurses often confront.

Mike Mozart / Flickr

This weekend kicks off the summer travel season. And according to one travel group, it’s going to be a busy one.

Every year, AAA does a survey of members to find out if they’re traveling over Memorial Day. Results this year show it will the busiest Memorial Day on the road in the last decade, according to AAA of Western and Central New York Spokeswoman Diana Dibble. Estimates are that 32 million Americans will hit the road, in large part because of an improving economy and lower gas prices. This could bode well for a busy summer overall.

baasiilb15 / Flickr

 

The New York Department of Financial Services will post the new coverage rates proposed by insurance companies and allow for public review starting next month.

Last year, the state allowed insurers an average increase of 5.7 percent. They had requested rates higher than 12 percent above the previous year.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

It’s not the threats from abroad that worry Army Secretary John McHugh the most these days. During a visit at Syracuse University yesterday, he said an uncertain budget situation is the military's boogie man right now.  

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been steering clear of public events at the state Capitol recently, after a second major party legislative leader, the head of the Senate was forced to resign over corruption charges.  But the governor is still finding ways to press for his legislative agenda in the last weeks of the session.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Syracuse-area Assemblyman Sam Roberts may soon be giving up his seat to be commissioner of the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, the state agency that handles welfare and disability cases.  

Roberts, a Democrat, was nominated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo for the job Wednesday. He needs to be confirmed by the New York State Senate, and then it’s up to the governor to call a special election.  

Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli, a fellow Democrat from Syraucuse, hopes that could take place during the regular November election.

Michael Staab / International Institute of Species Exploration, SUNY ESF

The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse has come out with a top ten list of new species discovered in the last year. SUNY ESF President Quentin Wheeler says the list is culled from the 18,000 new plants and animals scientists discover every year. 

Wheeler says it’s not just plants or animals on the list. There’s a 600-pound chicken-like dinosaur that researchers used to think was a bird, nicknamed the “chicken from hell” because they hung out in nests of dinosaur eggs.

Columbia City Blog / Flickr

A near record number of school budgets were approved around the state in Tuesday’s vote. Many are attributing the relative lack of controversy to the three year old property tax cap that limits tax levy increases, as well as an increase in state aid.

About one in four Obamacare enrollees who signed up for high-deductible health insurance chose not to access any care last year, according to a new study.  Health advocates are calling for more states to adopt programs like one just announced in New York state that connect people with low-cost coverage.

An analysis of data from the Urban Institute’s Health Reform Monitoring Survey showed more than 25 percent of people who bought non-group insurance last year did not use the coverage for needed services, like medical treatments, prescription drugs, and tests.

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