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Governor Andrew Cuomo's office

The Public Service Commission comes to Syracuse this summer to find out what internet and cable access is like for residents of the city.  And there won’t be many positives to take away, if they hear the same thing residents are telling Mayor Stephanie Miner.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

 

The Greater Syracuse Land Bank, which acquires tax-delinquent properties with the goal of getting them back on the tax roll, is renegotiating its contract with the city. 

 

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

 

A $110 million federal grant will be matched with half a billion dollars in public and private investments in order to create a Photonics Research and Manufacturing Hub in Rochester.

Vice President Joe Biden, Under Secretary of Defense Frank Kendall, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo came together with Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-Rochester), Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren to make the announcement in Rochester.

Stigma around seeking treatment for mental health problems is a bigger barrier in communities of color. That's according to MaJose Carrasco the director of the Multicultural Action Center at the National Alliance on Mental Illness -- or NAMI.

July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. Representatives from NAMI say they’re fighting isolation many people living with mental illness experience.

www.newlabor.org

Over two million American workers are exposed to silica dust in industries like construction, mining, road repair and sand blasting. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is now pushing for tougher limits on how much silica dust they can be exposed to in the workplace.

But the proposed rules will come too late for many workers who’ve already contracted the potentially fatal lung disease, silicosis. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Don’t expect the decision last week by the New York State Wage Board to boost the minimum wage for New York’s fast food workers to $15 an hour to be the end of the story. At least one central New York lawmaker expects this to be the beginning of a bigger debate.

For Syracuse-area Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli, there’s no question that the state’s minimum wage should be upped to $15 an hour for everyone.

Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities

Disabled Veterans are getting a crash course in how to become entrepreneurs this week in Syracuse.

Dan Piston spent six years in the Navy.  When he got out two years ago, he realized he had a passion for the health and fitness field. And wanted to put that In action by doing something like owning a gym.

"I do not have much training in business. Right now my undergrad degree is in health and exercise science. And I’ve always had an interest in owning a business, but I didn’t know how to do it, or where to get started,” said Piston.

How to survive the wilderness

Jul 26, 2015
Al_HikesAZ / Flickr

Lost in the wilderness, people tend to make things worse for themselves by trying to find their way out, or looking aimlessly for food. Yet staying calm and staying put might guarantee your safety faster than anything else.

This week on “Take Care,” we talk to Dr. Christopher McStay, chief of clinical operations in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. McStay was also the former chief of service for the Bellevue Hospital Emergency Department in New York City, where he treated patients who have survived extreme circumstances such as Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy.

The reality of contact lenses

Jul 26, 2015
Andy Simmons / Flickr

Contact lenses have become a cultural norm as more and more people make the switch from glasses to contacts. But are people using these lenses correctly, and do they know exactly how these lenses even work?

This week on “Take Care,” we talk to contact lens expert Dr. Bryan Lee, a cornea, cataract and Lasik specialist, whose practice is located in Los Altos, California. Lee is also a member of the Council of American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Hiking in the woods and mountains is a popular activity. But if you take the wrong fork in the trail and get lost, a day of recreation can turn into an exercise in staying safe. This week on WRVO's health and wellness show “Take Care,” hosts Lorraine Rapp and Linda Lowen speak to Dr. Christopher McStay, chief of clinical operations in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine at the University of Colorado. They discuss the basics of surviving in the wilderness for the average person.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The city of Syracuse hopes to use a $10 million infusion from a New York State Assembly fund for infrastructure as a springboard to even more cash to help repair the crumbling waterlines and sewer pipes that dog the city.  

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

While supporters are declaring victory over New York’s new higher minimum wage for fast food workers, the action, by a state wage board, highlights a larger question why are so many in the state dependent for their livelihoods on what are essentially entry level work force jobs.

The victory celebration by fast food workers and the state’s major union leaders also featured Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The governor, who appointed the board when Republicans in the legislature were reluctant to act, predicts more actions to come.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

 

A new dining experience in Syracuse brings local farmers, chefs and consumers together to teach people how to buy and cook local food year-round.

 

Before Alan Gandelman became the owner of Main Street Farms in Homer and Cortland four years ago, he was a high school teacher.

 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

A central New York Mentorship program that pairs grandparents with first and second graders could become the victim of federal budget cuts.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) says this funding is essential for the grandparents who help in Syracuse classrooms, by way of the Senior Corp Chapter in the city of Syracuse.

Volunteer Colleen Chestnut works with these kids in the Syracuse City School District, and doesn’t want to see the program go away.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Swimming in Onondaga Lake has been banned since 1940 but the commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Joe Martens, was among a group of local and state officials who jumped into the lake on Wednesday. The event was organized by the nonprofit Believe in Syracuse,  which highlights positive aspects of the city, to show that it is now safe enough to swim in the lake. The state DEC said low bacteria counts and high water clarity meet the standards for swimming. 

 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

SUNY faculty and students are calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign a bill that would mean more money for the state university system.  

Michael Lyon, professor at Upstate Medical University, knows what it’s like to be buried in student debt.

"I finished paying for my education when my first adult child started college. So it was a never-ending payment,” said Lyon.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

A state wage board has voted to phase in an increase in the minimum wage for fast food workers to $15 an hour, making New York the first state in the nation to increase the wage for a single segment of the work force.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

A New York State Supreme Court judge today reserved judgment in the case of Syracuse Common Councilors versus Mayor Stephanie Miner’s administration over a computer use policy.  

A majority of the councilors are suing the mayor’s office over requests to sign the agreement, which the lawmakers say allows the administration access their confidential communication and research.  

Private attorney Paul Curtin represented the councilors in court, and is hopeful this conflict can be solved without Judge Hugh Gilbert getting involved.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

 

A majority of the Syracuse Common Councilors are suing Mayor Stephanie Miner's administration for shutting off their computer access on July 1 after they refused to sign a computer use policy. A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday in state Supreme Court.

New York State Senate

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Act saw some successes in the legislature in 2015, after the most controversial of the measures -- an abortion rights provision -- was separated out from the rest of the items.

Eight of the of the 10 provisions in the Women’s Equality Act passed in 2015, including anti-human trafficking laws, protections for pregnant workers, broadening anti-sexual harassment laws  in the workplace, and making it easier for women to sue for equal pay, says the co-chairwoman of the Women’s Equality Coalition, Suzy Ballantyne. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Democrats in the New York State Assembly have come through with some cash for Crouse Hospital in Syracuse to help fund its opioid and heroin abuse program.  

The majority conference is committing $400,000 to Crouse, which runs the only methadone program in the region. It’s struggling to keep up with demand spurred by the recent spike in heroin and opiate addiction across the country and in central New York. Right now the program serves 600 patients; another 500 are on a waiting list. The hospital treats patients who are from the Southern Tier to the North Country.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

One of Albany’s so-called “three men in a room” is touring upstate New York to get a feel for the problems facing the area. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, who along with State Senate Leader John Flanagan represent the legislature in budget negotiations with the governor, started his tour Tuesday in Syracuse

New York State Public Service Commission

The 315 area code region is going to be joined by a new area code.

The North American Numbering Plan Administrator says 680 will be the new area code assigned to new phone numbers in the 315 area starting in 2017.

Assemblyman Al Stirpe (D-Syracuse) doesn’t think it’ll be a big deal for residents to get used to the new numbers.

“Most people are using cell phones now anyway, and you load in your most commonly used numbers with the area code, so I don’t think it will be that much of a big deal after a few months, everyone will get used to it,” said Stirpe.

PNI / Flickr

Federal regulators are holding public hearings on a proposed natural gas pipeline that would run through several upstate New York counties.

Energy company Kinder Morgan wants to build the Northeast Energy Direct Pipeline to funnel gas from Pennsylvania to other Northeastern states. The project also includes four compressor stations proposed for New York state along the pipeline route.

Over a hundred people attended the hearing in Oneonta and several gave passionate statements, with the vast majority against the pipeline.

Kramchang / Flickr

A wage board convened by Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to vote to raise the hourly minimum rate for fast food workers in New York state from the current $8.75 cents an hour to as high as $15 an hour when it meets on Wednesday.

The board was appointed by Cuomo when Republicans in the New York State Senate did not agree to raise the minimum wage any higher than the current phased-in increase, which will bring the minimum wage to $9 an hour by the end of this year.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

The numbers of synthetic marijuana cases called into the Upstate New York Poison Center continues to be off the charts. Officials say there could be more than 800 by the end of the year if the cases don’t abate.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO News file photo

New York state’s comptroller finds that local and school property taxes will increase by the lowest percentage in decades, under the rules of the tax cap program recently renewed by the state legislature.

According to the law, property taxes are capped at 2 percent per year or the rate of inflation, whichever is less. The projected rate of inflation for the 2016 calendar year is less than 1 percent, at .73 percent, says Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Solarize CNY is helping people across the region add solar energy installations to their homes and businesses. The volunteer initiative will be hosting public workshops and free site assessments throughout central New York during the summer and fall.

 

Chris Carrick is the energy program manager for the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board which is organizing Solarize CNY with the Alliance for a Green Economy.

 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

 

Rep. Richard Hanna (R- Barneveld) was in Cortland Friday talking about aviation infrastructure, but solving any of those issues will be tied to extending federal transportation legislation, set to expire at the end of July.

 

David Keck is the director of flight operations and the chief pilot for McNeil & Company which leases a hangar at the Cortland County Airport. Keck said his biggest concern about the airport is the infrastructure.

 

Julia Botero

Eating locally grown vegetables and driving a hybrid car – these are ways to limit your  carbon footprint. A family in Lorraine, a small town near Adams in Jefferson County, has gone a lot further. They’re building a house made out of old tires and recycled wine bottles.  It’s called an Earthship and there are houses just like it all over the world.

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