News

Chewing tobacco is one of the oldest methods of consuming tobacco. And even as American society has clamped down on the use of cigarettes, the various forms of smokeless tobacco on the market don't get nearly as much attention. This week on WRVO's health and wellness show "Take Care,"  hosts Lorraine Rapp and Linda Lowen interview Dr. David Pfister, chief of the Head and Neck Oncology Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City about why this kind of tobacco is so dangerous.

Wallyg / via Flickr

With just a few weeks left in the legislative session, education issues continue to dominate. Some lawmakers want to fix a recently passed law that requires a fast turn around for new teacher evaluations, while others would like a tax break for donors that would help private schools.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has seen much of his ambitious legislative agenda for 2015 stall, as first the Assembly Speaker, and then the Senate Leader, were charged with corruption and had to resign their leadership posts.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

A new program starts in Syracuse this weekend that’s meant to help people overcome one of the biggest impediments to finding work in central New York: transportation. 

It often isn’t so easy getting a job in central New York if you don’t have a car or access to public transportation. Providence Services of Syracuse President Deborah Hundley says the problems come at workplaces that are beyond the bus line, or shifts that begin or end when buses aren’t running.

St. Lawrence County Sheriff's Office

Nicole Vaisey admitted in federal court Thursday that she helped her boyfriend kidnap two Amish sisters from their family's roadside farm stand last August, and sexually abused them before letting them go a day later. 

Vaisey, 25, also pleased guilty to a total of 10 felony charges, including nine charges of sexual exploitation and one charge of conspiracy. Vaisey was accused of abusing four other girls as well, all under the age of 12.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Public meetings began in Utica this week discussing whether residents are comfortable with a local farm applying to grow and dispense medical marijuana in New York.

Twelve-year-old Mackensie Kulawy was diagnosed with intractable epilepsy or Doose Syndrome when she was four and has been living with persistent seizures. Julie Kulawy, of New York Mills, is her mother.

Julia Botero

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has extended the state's ban on outdoor brush burning until May 21. He says conditions across the state are still too dry.

This week may have been a wet one here in central and northern New York, but until this latest round of storms, grasses and fields have been dry and several fires have been reported across the region. So, firefighters at Fort Drum are on alert.  

“With spring comes initial dryness. Even though the rain is coming, the vegetation on the range out there is dry,” said Kevin Hazen, who works in fire prevention at Fort Drum.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Syracuse's Upstate Medical University is taking a research project into the community, which will focus on older, frail adults.

Dr. Sharon Brangman, chief of geriatric medicine, says usually researchers start out with a thesis and then try to prove it. Armed with a $15,000 federal grant, they’ll work the other way around on this.

New York state releases final fracking report

May 13, 2015
Bosc d'Anjou / Flickr

New York state regulators have released the long-awaited final version of its environmental impact review of high-volume hydraulic fracturing. And it’s expected to lead to an official state ban on fracking.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Prosecutors and police agencies across central New York are trying a new strategy as they continue to fight the rising use of synthetic marijuana. Not since the bath salts craze of 2012 have local police and emergency personnel come across so many agitated individuals high on synthetic drugs. 

Susumu Komatsu / Flickr

A study looking into ways to reduce the plaque that causes Alzheimer’s disease, wants to attract more African American participants. The clinical trial is taking place in Rochester, Buffalo, and several locations near New York City.

African Americans are twice as likely as Caucasians to develop Alzheimer’s disease. University of Rochester Medical Center Dr. Anton Porsteinsson says medical researchers don’t exactly know why.

Karen Dewitt / WRVO News

The new leader of the New York State Senate, John Flanagan, replaced Dean Skelos, who is facing corruption charges. On day two in office, Flanagan says he does not expect any major new reform legislation to happen before the end of the session.

Flanagan says he does not think that further ethics reform will be enacted in the remaining weeks of the legislative session, despite an ongoing corruption scandal that cost his predecessor his job.

David Shankbone / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is coping with the breast cancer diagnosis and impending double mastectomy surgery of his long time partner, and cooking show celebrity Sandra Lee. In a statement, Cuomo said he expects to take some personal time off to support her through her treatment.

Mike Kurtz

Bases across the country, including Fort Drum, are stepping up security. The United States military has increased the terrorism threat level on bases from Alpha to Bravo.

State heroin task force meeting around the state

May 12, 2015
WXXI News

New York senators are calling heroin and opioid addiction an epidemic in the state.

New Yorkers in recovery for heroin addiction, their families, health care providers, and law enforcement gave testimony recently in the Rochester-area about the escalating problem.

Last year, Monroe County saw a 40 percent increase in overdose fatalities linked to opioids.

Monroe County Assistant District Attorney Tim Prosperi says the problem touches people of all backgrounds.

John Katko/Facebook

Syracuse-area Rep. John Katko has his work cut out for him as co-chair of the Task Force on Terrorist, Foreign Fighter Threat. The Republican just returned from a trip to several countries in the Middle East to get a sense of where problems might lie.

Katko, as part of an eight-member congressional delegation, visited Israel, Iraq, Turkey and some European countries to get a better idea of the dangers posed by foreign fighters -- those Westerners recruited and trained by terrorist organizations.

nysenate.gov

Senate Leader Dean Skelos has resigned his post, over a corruption scandal, and Republicans have elected Sen. John Flanagan, currently chairman of the Education Committee to be his successor.

Flanagan, a Republican from Long Island, a GOP stronghold in the Senate, became the new leader of the Senate with a unanimous floor vote from his Republican conference.

Matt Ryan / WMHT

Dean Skelos has resigned his position as New York State Senate majority leader after his arrest on federal corruption charges. He becomes the latest leader to lose his power in a state government marred by corruption.

Sen. John Flanagan of Long Island was elected by his fellow Republicans, beating out Syracuse-area Sen. John DeFrancisco.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

State Senate Republicans have been huddling behind closed doors, trying to resolve a leadership crisis now that Majority Leader Dean Skelos has lost the support of his GOP members, after being charged with six federal counts of corruption.

Sen. John DeFrancisco, a Syracuse-area Republican who’s been running to replace Skelos, says first, the leader would have to resign, and that is not yet guaranteed.  

“I have not talked to Dean; not anybody that I’ve talked to has a clear answer on that,” DeFrancisco said.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who was arrested last week on federal corruption charges, is expected to step down from his leadership position later today, according to multiple reports. 

David Sommerstein / NCPR

For more than a decade, undocumented Hispanic workers have been indispensable on dairy farms across Upstate New York. The immigrants live largely invisible lives and rarely stray off the farm to avoid detection by federal agents. They are also less likely to report abuses.

Fairfax County / Flickr

Now that warmer weather appears to be here for good, central and northern New Yorkers need to be aware of Lyme disease. The disease, carried by deer ticks, is endemic to the area, and can have a devastating effect.

Lyme disease changed the life of of Baldwinsville resident Kathy Wallace. The former hairdresser, says it took a couple of years before a physician from Rhinebeck, in the Hudson Valley, first mentioned Lyme as a reason for an array of symptoms she was experiences, ranging from fatigue to aching joints.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

It’s been just over a year since Onondaga County got out of the business of running a nursing home. And according to Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney, the sale of the Van Duyn Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing to the Upstate Services Group has been a good move.

Do you know what's in your herbal supplements?

May 10, 2015
jdurchen / Flickr

When you buy herbal supplements, are you really getting what you pay for? Is the label accurate?

This week on “Take Care,” Dr. Arthur Grollman talks about herbal supplements. Grollman is a professor of pharmacological sciences, a professor of experimental medicine and director of the Zickler Laboratory of Chemical Biology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Robert S. Donovan / Flickr

With warm weather finally here again, experts say it’s important to find the best way to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays.

This week on “Take Care,” Dr. Emmy Graber discusses what kind of sunscreen to buy and the benefits of using it. Graber is an assistant professor of dermatology at the Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center.

When women run for office, they face closer and more negative scrutiny from the media, are more likely to get damaging coverage based on how they look and what they wear, and face other gender-based challenges, such as voter prejudice and difficulties raising money.  All sound true?  In this edition of the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher talks with George Washington University Professor Danny Hayes, who argues that the evidence from congressional elections does not support these assumptions commonly made by both political observers and political scientists. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

“Ragtime,” a musical about racism and xenophobia at the beginning of the 20th century is being staged in Syracuse this weekend. And producers of the show say the themes of the show are still relevant today.

Kenneth Overton is a professional actor and singer from the New York City area who came to Syracuse to play Colehouse Walker, Jr., a struggling musician in the musical “Ragtime.”

2nd Battalian, Fort Drum

1st Lt. John Levulis, 25  from Eden, New York,  was traveling in a military convoy the evening of May 1 when a car collided with his Humvee carrying three other soldiers.

The four soldiers, members of  the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, were traveling to  Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst near Trenton, New Jersey for military training at the time of the crash.

St. Lawrence County Sheriff's Office

A St. Lawrence County man has admitted abducting two Amish girls from a farm stand last summer and abusing them in his home, while his girlfriend taped the sex acts. Stephen Howells pled guilty to all 21 counts in a federal indictment, including child pornography, in a Syracuse Courtroom Friday.

Herbal supplements: how regulated are they?

May 8, 2015

Vitamins and supplements are big business in the U.S. But herbal supplements have recently come under scrutiny amid accusations that sometimes they do not even contain the herb they are advertised to. This week on WRVO's health and wellness show "Take Care," hosts Lorraine Rapp and Linda Lowen interview Dr. Arthur Grollman, professor of pharmacological sciences and experimental medicine at Stony Brook University, bout exactly how herbal supplements are -- or are not -- regulated by the government.

Kramchang / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, at a large union rally in New York City’s Union Square to raise the minimum wage, called out fast food chains McDonalds and Burger King by name and accused them of corporate greed for under-paying workers.

Cuomo, in an animated speech, says fast food chains make huge profits while relying on taxpayers subsidies, like food stamps, to make up for the low pay they give their workers.

The governor says he’ll bypass the legislature and create a state board to examine increasing the state's minimum wage for fast food workers.

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