News

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

Faith leaders from around New York came to the Capitol to gain support in the state Senate to adopt a statewide single-payer health care system. It would be an alternative to the national Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, which Republicans in Congress and President Donald Trump have been trying to dismantle.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO News File Photo

The level of poverty in Oswego is more than double the national rate with 29 percent of residents living below the federal threshold.

That's the finding of a study the city recently commissioned as part of its poverty reduction initiative. And, Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow says that's only the tip of the iceberg.

"It shows another 18 percent may be above that threshold but struggle to make ends meet," Barlow said. "So if you combine those two numbers you’re almost near 50 percent, and that’s a problem."

Trump budget plan targets Great Lakes funding

8 hours ago
Elizabeth Miller / Great Lakes Today

The Trump administration released details of its 2018 budget plan yesterday. As expected, it eliminates a $300 million program to help the Great Lakes. But that isn’t the only environmental program targeted.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

After years of financial loss, St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse is posting a profit. New York state helped contribute to the financial gains.

St Joseph’s Chief Financial Officer Meredith Price said a $20 million state grant lifted the hospital to an $8 million profit. The grant has allowed the hospital to pay for the outstanding debt on the purchase of a primary care physician practice.      

St. Joe’s had a loss of nearly $20 million last year.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

There’s only a little more than a week left for the public to weigh in on plans to restore wildlife and recreation on Onondaga Lake. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will then put together a final plan for the lake.

New York State Senate

After an embarrassing controversy over stipend payments, the beleaguered group of breakaway Democrats in the state Senate is trying to change the subject.

The eight-member Independent Democratic Conference has been the target of some bad headlines lately because some of its members have accepted stipend payments of $12,500 to $18,000 for chairing committees when they were in fact the vice chairs, a position that does not legally entitle a senator to extra pay.

The IDC’s leader, Sen. Jeff Klein, has said repeatedly that it’s all legal.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The Syracuse Common Council has voted to override the mayor’s veto and defund the Syracuse Land Bank of $1.5 million in the city's recently passed budget. Some councilors called into question the land bank’s performance of maintaining foreclosed properties.

Rich Puchalski with Syracuse United Neighbors offered candy to councilors who would vote to return land bank funding.

“Most of you, don’t experience what we experience day in, day out,” Puchalski said.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Summer is approaching, but many of New York state's beaches along Lake Ontario are closed.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

There are reports that state senators who received payments for chairing committees that they actually did not chair are now under a probe by the state attorney general and at least one U.S. attorney.

Several Republican and independent Democratic senators were paid stipends allocated to chairs of Senate committees. But the senators weren’t actually the chairs; they had all been designated as vice chairs, a relatively new title. There is no provision in state law to pay stipends to vice chairs.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

In one council district in Syracuse another candidate is stepping into a race that has already seen four other candidates fight for the Democratic Party’s endorsement. It is continuing the trend of young people entering politics.

At the Green Party office in Syracuse, Serena “Rahzie” Seals, 33, candidate for the city’s fourth district, posed for pictures with supporters. Seals is trying to follow in her father’s footsteps, who once held the same seat. Seals said she is excited for the election because so many people in her generation are standing up to do something in the city.

Cathy Goodnough

Lake Ontario is now 33 inches above its long-term average and it's not yet at its peak. That sustained flooding is threatening residents along the shorelines and scientists say it is also taking a toll on the environment.

The return of recess

May 20, 2017
John Lustig / Flickr

As public schools have been pressured to emphasize academics in recent years, one of the traditions of the school day that often gets put on the chopping block is recess. But studies show that recess provides a variety of benefits beyond a break in the school day for kids.

This week on “Take Care,” Michelle Carter, senior program manager of the Society of Health and Physical Educators, better known as SHAPE America, discusses the benefits recess can provide. Carter has also served as a health and physical education teacher in the Washington, D.C. public school system.

Want whiter teeth? Don't head to your local pharmacy

May 20, 2017
Rupert-Taylor Price / Flickr

A pearly white smile isn’t always easy to come by. While some blame genetics, coffee and tea, teeth yellowing is a natural part of aging. Teeth whitening is a fairly new obsession, but with gels, lights, pastes and strips, the trend continues to pick up speed.

This week on “Take Care,” we speak to Dr. Mark Burhenne about the different kinds of whitening products available and if they’re effective or even safe. Burhenne is a practicing dentist of over 30 years and creator of the popular website “Ask the Dentist."

WRVO News

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. There has been much debate on the issue, including a recent debate on the issue at Syracuse University's Maxwell School. 

Ellen Abbott

Researchers at SUNY Upstate Medical University and Penn State have come up with a way to tell whether a child has suffered a concussion, and how severe it is. And all it takes is a swab of saliva.

More than 2 million children and teens suffer from concussions every year. And there are not a lot of clinically proven methods to diagnose the severity of these head injuries, or the children’s prognosis. That could be changing, after researchers identified an accurate biomarker that can be used as a diagnostic tool.

Reading, writing and recess

May 19, 2017
cryptic_star / Flickr

Over the years, some school districts around the country have gotten rid of recess to make more time for academics. But studies show that recess has many benefits -- and not just increasing physical activity. This week on WRVO's health and wellness show "Take Care," hosts Lorraine Rapp and Linda Lowen speak with Michelle Carter, a senior program manager for the Society of Health and Physical Educators or SHAPE America, about the campaign to bring back recess. Carter has also served as a health and physical education teacher in the Washington, D.C. public school system.

Oneida County Executive's Office

Oneida County officials want to capitalize on the state's recent investments in a hospital and nano technology center in the Utica area. They say the key to developing Utica is building an arts, sports and entertainment district in the city's downtown.

File Photo
Greater Syracuse Area Land Bank / City of Syracuse

The Syracuse Common Council will soon have to decide if they want to override Mayor Stephanie Miner’s veto to a number of amendments the council added to the budget. Those amendments include cuts to the funding of the city’s land bank.

Miner released a list of 60 properties scheduled for demolition that will have to be put on hold unless the council restores funding to the land bank, which takes over tax-delinquent properties. Many of the properties on the list have had a number of police calls and complaints ranging from drugs, trespassing, arsons and shots fired.

SUNY Oswego / Facebook

The free state college tuition promised in New York's new Excelsior Scholarship is an exciting prospect for many students, but some caveats of the program could come as a surprise. But many current SUNY students might be caught off guard by the new requirements.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

As the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service continue asking for input into a series of restoration projects for Onondaga Lake, one group of central New Yorkers feels left out. Some southside Syracuse residents want officials to take into account a problem that’s plagued them for years -- a muddy, inaccessible Onondaga Creek.

New York State Senate

The state is one step closer to having ride-hailing services available before the Fourth of July, now that the state Senate has passed a bill to speed up when companies like Uber and Lyft will be allowed to operate in upstate New York.

When state lawmakers agreed to allow the companies to operate outside New York City as part of the budget, they thought that they would pass the legislation by April 1, the start of the new fiscal year.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Russell Brooks is a staple of the Utica Fire Department. He's been there for 42 years and run it for the past 13. But last Friday, Brooks was told to turn in his cell phone and vehicle and leave the building.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

At least four Democratic candidates for Syracuse mayor have said they will challenge the party's designated candidate, Joe Nicoletti, in the September primary. A primary could drain resources from a campaign that will have to take on a Republican, an independent and a Green Party candidate in November.

Nicoletti said he is humbled to have the support of the Democratic Party.

“Hopefully the reason the party turned to me, was because I have experience, experience of many years," Nicoletti said. "Some people will say that is a negative but I don’t think so.”

Veronica Volk / Great Lakes Today

Plan 2014 is unpopular with some residents of the southern shore of Lake Ontario, because it lets the water levels get higher, more frequently, and potentially for longer periods of time, which could cause damage to lakefront property owners.

So it makes sense that flooded homeowners like Tom Piekunka in Sodus Point are blaming the change in regulation for the change in their environment.

"This is what they want. They want the higher water. We're just collateral damage."

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

A federal bill that would reduce the amount of time animals spend in shelters after being abused and neglected has support from animal rights advocates and elected officials in central New York. The legislation would speed up the legal process to reduce the burden on shelters and give abused animals new homes sooner.

Dogs like Brutus come into the DeWitt Animal Hospital for a variety of reasons. Brutus is a mastiff pit bull mix that was a stray and about 20 pounds underweight.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

The leader of the state Senate Independent Democratic Conference for the first time publicly answered questions from the media about news stories that some of his members received stipends for committee chair positions that they do not actually hold.

State Sen. Jeff Klein defended the practice, while the leader of the Senate Democrats is calling for an investigation.

Bret Jaspers / WSKG News

A detox center slated for Ithaca still has a few steps to go before it opens. Tompkins County has a significant need for this kind of help for drug addicts.

When people in Tompkins County need help with withdrawal symptoms, they have to go elsewhere.

They often go to Syracuse or Binghamton. In 2015, 220 people left the county for detox help.

But leaving the county isn’t necessarily what a patient wants, according to Angela Sullivan of the Alcohol and Drug Council of Tompkins County.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Water levels on Lake Ontario are still going up and still have not yet peaked, but property owners already have been assessing the damage. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Four Democratic challengers are vying for two open city-wide seats on the Syracuse Common Council. Now they will be joined by Green Party candidate Frank Cetera, who is making another run after an unsuccessful attempt in 2015. Cetera is supporting a number of progressive issues. He said the Greens are continuing to build on their movement.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

There are calls for a criminal investigation of some questionable stipend payments to some New York state senators. One of the senators who received those payments is giving it back, while another is calling the controversy a “witch hunt.”

Several senators who are part of a breakaway group of Democrats known as the Independent Democratic Conference were paid extra stipends — ranging from $12,500 to $18,000 a year — for serving on various Senate committees controlled by the majority party Republicans.

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