timlewisnm / Flickr

The state’s education commissioner said parents who are thinking of opting their children out of standardized tests again this school year should stick with the exams because they will be different than last year’s tests. But, the state’s teacher’s union and a parents group says the changes don’t go far enough.

Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia is hoping to contain a movement that led 20 percent of students to boycott the third-eighth grade standardized tests last spring.

Julia Botero / WRVO news

Watertown is looking at cities like Syracuse and Rochester for a new way to handle abandoned homes. City officials say a land bank can help get properties back on the tax roll. 

Out on the corner of Coffeen and Waltham Streets in Watertown, the windows on a red brick house are broken.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

A human trafficking and prostitution sting operation between federal, state and local law enforcement yielded multiple arrests during this year’s New York State Fair, according Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick. Many of the women arrested apparently became involved in prostitution because of drug addictions.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the leader of the Senate Republicans differ on whether New York State should accept Syrian refugees in light of the French terror attacks.

Zach Hirsch / NCPR

Colleges across the country are grappling with protest rallies and marches. They've been sparked by concerns about race relations and accusations of systemic bias against black and Hispanic students.

The State University of New York at Plattsburgh has seen its own series of rallies and forums. They started in late October after a student newspaper published a cartoon widely viewed as offensive.

Many students now say that image revealed a deeper culture of prejudice and inequality on the campus.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

A report out of the House Task Force on Foreign Fighters is getting more attention following the Paris Terror attacks.  Central New York Rep. John Katko, who’s a co-chair of the group, hopes it means Washington will take some of their advice about how best stop the flow of foreign fighters between Syria and their home countries.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Starting Thursday, smoking will be banned in all of Syracuse’s public housing. The decision comes from a recommendation made by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development which may institute the ban nationwide.

Francine Whitman lives in one of the public housing complexes in Syracuse and she’s not thrilled about the smoking ban.

Thomas Favre-Bulle / via Flickr

The state’s latest teacher evaluation system, which was supposed to be in place November 15,  has essentially been put on hold, as 90 percent of school districts have been granted waivers to delay its implementation. It represents a reversal for a policy championed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo just last spring. 

The new rules for teacher evaluations were put in place last March, as part of the state budget.  

Payne Horning / WRVO News

A group of volunteers in Oswego are working with state officials to elevate Fort Ontario and its Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Museum to a national, and even possibly global, status.

First constructed in 1759, Fort Ontario has undergone many changes in its history. It was defended and destroyed by both the British and the United States. Then during World War II, Fort Ontario became a refugee camp for European Jews and in 1953, it opened as a state historic site. Now, a grassroots campaign hopes to see the fort transform once again. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Hancock International Airport has become the first airport in upstate New York to have a TSA PreCheck application center on site. That means airline passengers can apply at the airport for the program that lets them glide through the TSA security checks more quickly, and without some of the hassles flyers have become used to. 

At the modern looking booth at the center of Hancock, central New Yorkers are already lining up to get the perk.

Think food allergies are just for kids? Think again

Nov 15, 2015
Brooke Bina / Flickr

While food allergies are most common in babies and young children, adults are also susceptible. This week on “Take Care,” we discuss food allergies with Dr. Neeta Ogden.

Dr. Neeta Ogden is an adult and pediatric allergist and immunologist in private practice in New York City, as well as a spokesperson for the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

A common problem no one wants to talk about: hemorrhoids

Nov 15, 2015
Sid Sowder / Flickr

Hemorrhoids are a condition that nobody wants to talk about, but that more than half of all Americans will experience in their lifetime. This week on “Take Care,” we get to the bottom of hemorrhoids with Dr. Rajeev Jain.

Dr. Rajeev Jain is a partner at Texas Digestive Disease Consultants, chief of gastroenterology at Texas Health Dallas and clinical assistant professor of medicine at University of Texas Southwestern Medical School.

Julia Botero / WRVO news

John Rogers grew up adjacent to Butterfield Lake in Redwood. That’s in the Indian Lakes region in Jefferson County.  When his grandparents passed they left him 100 acres of pristine wetland and grassland. Now, Rogers has transformed his backyard into a tourist attraction.

Food allergy or intolerance?

Nov 13, 2015
Steven Depolo / Flickr

There's a lot more attention on food allergies these days. But what's the difference between an allergy and a food intolerance? And can you grow out of or develop new food allergies as you age? This Sunday, on WRVO's health and wellness show “Take Care,” hosts Lorraine Rapp and Linda Lowen ask Dr. Neeta Ogden these questions. Ogden is an allergist and spokesperson for the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he won’t allow a natural gas transfer station to be built off of the coast of Long Island, saying  there are too many concerns, including damage form future hurricanes, and potential terrorism.  

The Port Ambrose transfer station was to be built off of  the beaches of Long Island, and would have allowed tanker ships to load up with liquefied natural gas, then distribute the gas into pipelines on the main land.

Cuomo made the announcement to an enthusiastic crowd of Long Island officials and activists.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Students, faculty and staff at Syracuse University are standing by students at other colleges and universities that have been plagued by racial tensions.   

Many of the protesting students wore black, the color of the University of Missouri, and they held fists high in the shadow of the Hall of Languages Thursday. They chanted “we do it for Mizzou” and “black lives matter.”

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Vice President Joe Biden spoke at Syracuse University yesterday calling for an end to sexual assault on college campuses. A nationwide campaign is asking students to change the culture on campuses and to speak up when they see sexual assault.

Chris Kreussling / via Flickr

A couple of upstate members of Congress are leading the charge to push back against proposed cuts to mass transit funding in the Northeast as part the transportation bill.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Transgender service providers say doctors are not being trained to deal with LGBT issues. Medical professionals attended a conference held by ACR Health and the Q Center in Syracuse on Wednesday to learn more about the struggles transgender people face in accessing quality health care.

Eight months ago, 24 year-old Ethan Johnson of Syracuse came out as a transman. That’s someone who was born female, but who identifies as a man.

Julia Botero / WRVO News

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) visited the home of Philadelphia brand cream cheese in Lowville Wednesday. While parent company Kraft-Heinz was in the midst of closing plants nationwide last week, the company recently it would hire 100 new workers at the plant.  Schumer told those already employed their jobs are secure.

Inside the Lowville cream cheese plant, the sweet heavy scent of cream is ever present.  Down a hallway, a  group of workers in blue uniforms and clear plastic caps spill out of a full room to hear from Schumer. 

Solvejg Wastvedt / WSKG News

Students at Ithaca College gathered Wednesday to demand the resignation of their college president. They say he has a long history of unresponsiveness to racial incidents.

Lowville Cream Cheese Festival

When Kraft-Heinz announced last week it would close seven of its factories nationwide, one factory in New York got better news than the rest. The company proposed a plan to expand its cream cheese plant in Lowville and hire more than 100 new employees over the next five years.

The Kraft plant in Lowville, which makes the famous Philadelphia brand cream cheese, currently employs 340 people.

Lewis County Manager Liz Swearingin says back in June, when Kraft announced it was merging with Heinz, county officials got on the phone with Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office.


“Never say never, but highly unlikely.” That’s what Entergy spokesman Jerry Nappi said Tuesday about the possibility of the company reversing course and keeping open the FitzPatrick nuclear plant near Oswego.

"This decision, we view it as a final decision," said Nappi. "It’s one the company made reluctantly, because the plant is very well run. It’s just not economically viable."

Entergy says cheap natural gas is bringing down wholesale electricity prices. Operating the plant, the company says, has cost it $60 million.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Syracuse will get a nod from the White House on Wednesday. Syracuse is one of three new cities added to a list of cities that have ended Veteran homelessness. Las Vegas and Schenectady join 10 other cities that have eliminated Veteran homelessness. Syracuse’s Veterans Administration Medical Center points to two developments that are helping.

A program called HUD-VASH has been successful in finding housing for homeless veterans in part because it doesn’t expect vets to conquer all of their issues before finding a place to live.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO


Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced he is raising the minimum wage for state workers to $15 an hour.  That did not stop advocates from protesting at the Dunkin' Donuts at the state Capitol, saying the governor’s recently phased in wage increase for fast food workers is too slow.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The ride sharing service Uber held a job fair at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que on Tuesday and more than 150 people attended. Uber is pressuring the New York State Legislature to allow it to operate in upstate New York.

SU professional and technical writing / via Flickr

A six-year highway funding bill passed by the House of Representatives last week would remove $564 million from New York's current federal transportation funding.

A last-minute amendment to the House bill would move $1.6 billion in funding from seven Northeastern states to a general discretionary fund for use by the entire nation. Current law allows these high density areas to receive the extra funding because they account for half of all transit in the country. Sen. Charles Schumer said the loss of funding for New York is a travesty for the state's transit system.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

A report on government consolidation in Onondaga County will be released early next year by a Consensus, a commission looking at the modernization of local government. One potential recommendation for saving substantial tax dollars could be the creation of a county-wide municipal government.

Whenever Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney starts talking government consolidation, it generally begins with a story about snow and the 19 towns, 15 villages, and city, county and state snowplows that clear the streets after a snowstorm.

Karen Dewitt / WRVO News

The leaders of school districts, teachers unions, and parents are presenting a united front in calling for $2.2 billion more school aid next year.  They say a hard property tax cap with a zero percent increase is making it even more crucial that state lawmakers help them out.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Two shootings in Syracuse on Monday and two more shootings on Sunday all occurred about a mile from each other. A majority of the shootings that have happened recently are in a certain area of the city’s south side.