News

Sudipto Sarkar / Flickr

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York state’s adult smoking rate inched to its lowest recorded level in the latest numbers from state health officials.

The administration of Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday that 14.2 percent of adults were smokers in 2016, compared to 14.5 the year before.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

The Landmark Theatre in downtown Syracuse is celebrating its 90th anniversary. The theater has recovered from financial troubles it has had in previous years.

Landmark Executive Director Mike Intaglietta said 2017 was a breakout year for the theater with 145,000 people walking through the doors.

Onondaga Community College

Onondaga Community College is working with local manufacturers on a program that will offer training that will lead to apprenticeships and jobs - and individuals will be paid while they learn.

Meet the partisans in this 'nonpartisan' good government group

13 hours ago
Stephen Nessen / WNYC News

Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway and Long Island billionaire Robert Mercer launched a group called Reclaim New York even before they helped put Donald Trump in the White House. Mercer's daughter Rebekah, also a conservative powerhouse, is active in setting policy.

Reclaim people say Bannon and Conway are no longer involved. They insist the group is a nonpartisan good-government watchdog that should be judged on its work, not its board members. But records show their staff are all the same political persuasion as their founders. 

Trump's army battles for New York

Feb 19, 2018
Robert Lewis/WNYC News

Darrin Ball was at his day job at an upstate fire department last summer when the phone rang.

“One of my relatives had called me and said ‘Hey, did you check your mail yet?’ And I said, ‘No, why?’ And she goes, ‘Well, there’s a very interesting piece of mail in there with your photo all over it,’” Ball said.

When he got home he found a glossy mailer with his face on it, rendered in somewhat sinister black and white.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Sidewalk snow removal was a top concern among Syracuse residents who attended the city’s recent Snow Safety Summit. The city asked residents to weigh in on solutions to snow removal problems. 

elevatingerie.com

New York state has released a concept plan that closes the gap in the Erie Canalway Trail System between Camillus and DeWitt. It would extend the recreation trail through an urban area.

From the start, bridging the 14-mile gap has been the most challenging part of creating a seamless trail that closely follows the path of the Erie Canal.

"This segment of the trail goes through the most heavily urbanized areas of Onondaga County," said Town of DeWitt planner Sam Gordon.

Tom Fazzio / Syracuse University

The Medicaid program was at the center of Obamacare's expansion of health insurance coverage, and the political and legal controversy that followed its passage. It's now seen by many to be at risk in an era of potential social welfare cutbacks. This week, we're joined Jamila Michener, an expert on Medicaid, who has written a book on the subject.

Interview highlights

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees in Utica is getting a new home to improve and expand its services.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

Some Democratic lawmakers in the New York State Legislature are pushing for a measure that would make anonymous political ads on Facebook and other social media illegal. They say the ads are being abused to falsely represent their positions on issues.

Sen. Todd Kaminsky, a Long Island Democrat, said there’s been a lot of publicity about Russian operatives using Facebook and other social media to influence the 2016 presidential race. But he said it’s also happening in New York races, and it needs to stop.

“It’s undermining our democracy,” Kaminsky said.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

The Syracuse City School District is facing a $24 million deficit in it’s 2018-2019 budget. It hopes to close the gap using savings and more funds from the state.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Watertown is forming a commission to review its city charter. The goal is to determine if the city would be better served by a different form of government.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is putting $7 million into his 30-day budget amendments to fund poll sites for early voting in New York by the 2020 presidential race.

The funds would be used to set up at least one polling site in every county 12 days before Election Day so that voters can have several weekdays and two full weekends before elections to cast their ballot early.

Cuomo’s budget director, Robert Mujica, made the announcement on Monday.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Syracuse Bishop Robert Cunningham hopes a new program offering reconciliation and compensation to victims of clergy abuse can move the church past a scandal that has dogged it for years.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — The Syracuse diocese of the Roman Catholic Church is establishing a reconciliation program for survivors of clergy sexual abuse.

Bishop Robert Cunningham announced the voluntary program Wednesday. It’s aimed at promoting reconciliation and healing, and possibly compensation, for those who have been harmed by members of the diocese’s clergy.

In announcing the program, Cunningham admitted the church will never fully make amends for the harm caused by the church.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

An election forecaster says the race for the 22nd Congressional District may be more competitive than earlier thought. The Cook Political Report has changed their prediction for the campaign between Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) and freshman Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford) from "Lean Republican" to "Toss Up."

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Smartphone users can download a new app to receive public safety alerts from the Syracuse Police Department. The app has more features than a previous version.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News File Photo

On Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo will detail his proposals to help New Yorkers affected by changes to the federal tax law. But Republicans who rule the state Senate are cool to the ideas, including one that creates a payroll tax instead of a state income tax.

Liam James Doyle / NPR

The FBI director and several top intelligence leaders are testifying on Capitol Hill about worldwide threats. The Senate Intelligence Committee, which is holding the hearing, is also conducting an inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Watch the proceedings live, here.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget director said 30-day amendments to the governor’s spending plan, which is due out later this week, will include an overhaul of the state’s tax code. It will include plans to ease the effects of the loss of the state and local tax deductions in the new federal tax overhaul.

Robert Mujica said the governor will propose a payroll tax credit program that businesses could use instead of the state and local income tax system.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News (file photo)

The flu epidemic is hitting the corruption trial of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s former top aide, Joe Percoco, with proceedings delayed for a day and a half because a key defense attorney has come down with the virus.

The judge and the prosecution and defense attorneys in the bribery case of Percoco and three upstate businessmen met Monday to discuss when the trial can resume.

Part of the proceedings focused on telephone calls to attorney Daniel Gitner, who was sick at home with the flu, to inquire what medications he is taking and whether he is running a fever.   

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The public and private groups behind a new hospital in downtown Utica are offering additional assistance to the property owners who are located within the proposed footprint of the project. It comes amid criticism and confusion about what will happen to the affected properties.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News (file photo)

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is promoting legislation that would expand access to Pell grants for short-term job training programs. The federal subsidy for students to go to college currently can be used for 15-week job skills training. But Gillibrand said that does not help people who cannot go back to school full-time.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The Young Women's Christian Association or YWCA of Syracuse, along with churches and other community groups in the area, have been working to help the people of Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria hit the island in September. Some Puerto Ricans, displaced by the hurricane, have made their way to Syracuse, to stay with family and friends and start new lives.

After Hurricane Maria, Dorothy Huertas and her husband, who live in Syracuse, received a call from a friend they have known for 20 years, Jorge Luis Rodriguez Malave, who lives in Puerto Rico.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh’s transition team released a report highlighting the priorities of the Walsh Administration, including recommendations on how to improve the city’s finances. Some team members said the financial crisis is real, and there is a limited amount of time to fix it.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

State Assemblyman Brian Kolb (R-Canandaigua) dropped out of the race for the Republican nomination for governor last week. That leaves one fewer obstacle for gubernatorial hopeful John DeFrancisco, but he’s not ready to take on the mantle of front runner yet.

Tom Fazzio / Syracuse University

The U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division, based at Fort Drum in northern New York, is gearing up for a deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. This week, Grant Reeher speaks with Fort Drum's Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Walter Piatt, about the Division's upcoming mission to Iraq, and his own experiences there.

Interview highlights

kolbfornewyork.com

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Republican state lawmaker Brian Kolb has dropped out of the race for New York governor.

The assemblyman said Friday that he decided he doesn’t want to sacrifice time with his family in order to mount a long campaign. His decision leaves two Republicans in the race: state Sen. John DeFrancisco, of Syracuse, and former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra.

Kolb serves as the leader of the GOP minority in the Assembly. He is a resident of the city of Canandaigua in the Finger Lakes.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The city of Syracuse is opening up data it collects about snow removal to the public and is hoping it can lead to smarter ways to clear city streets after a snowstorm. 

The city is partnering with AT&T and Syracuse University’s iSchool for a hackathon called Plowing Through the Data.

Rich Mitchell / Flickr

Republicans are seeking political advantage in the federal corruption trial of Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s former closest aide.

One of the governor’s opponents is pressuring Cuomo to answer some of the revelations in the trial about how state business was conducted, and whether a pay-to-play “atmosphere” was created.

Pages