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6:12am

Fri July 11, 2014
Politics

Astorino challenges Cuomo to eight debates

GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino is calling for eight regional debates with Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Ellen Abbott WRVO file photo

The Republican challenger for governor, Rob Astorino, has proposed multiple debates in locations around the state with incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The governor has so far not accepted any.

In a video, Astorino says the debates should be held in every region of the state between now and election day.

“I challenge Gov. Cuomo to a series of at least eight regional debates around New York state,” Astorino said.

Astorino says he agreed to five one-hour debates when he ran for his second term as Westchester County executive.

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6:12am

Fri July 11, 2014
Business

Starwood announces second hotel coming to Syracuse's Inner Harbor

Gov. Andrew Cuomo addresses a group gathered at the site of the Aloft Hotel in Syracuse's Inner Harbor.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

The Starwood group is now building two hotels in Syracuse’s Inner Harbor. Word of the second hotel came at the groundbreaking of the first.

With developers and dignitaries on hand for the groundbreaking of an Aloft Hotel in Syracuse’s Inner Harbor, Jeremy Cooper of Starwood Hotels made an announcement.

"In addition to this groundbreaking, another Starwood Hotel is being built right here in the Inner Harbor. The Element Syracuse Inner Harbor Hotel is expected to open in 2018," said Cooper.

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7:01pm

Thu July 10, 2014
Education

Syracuse schools, attorney general reach settlement on discipline

Syracuse public school Superintendent Sharon Contreras. (file photo)
Ryan Delaney WRVO

The Syracuse public school district and the state attorney general's office say they've reached a settlement to curb the district's alarmingly high suspension rate.

The district will amend its code of conduct under the agreement. 

The attorney general's civil rights office launched its investigation in October 2013, after several complaints.

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4:06pm

Thu July 10, 2014
Politics

Moss emphasizes importance of Fort Drum during visit to North Country

Chemung County Sheriff Chris Moss.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

The Republican candidate for lieutenant governor in New York state is spending part of today in the North Country.   

Chemung County Sheriff Chris Moss says his message is aimed at the area around Fort Drum, and that he and gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino know how important that military base is to the local economy.

“Over $1 billion I think last year alone goes out to the community," Moss said. "So Fort Drum is very important to that part of the state. It’s important that we keep it open and keep jobs there.”

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3:59pm

Thu July 10, 2014
Politics

Katko unveils plan for veterans, says VA needs to be held accountable

John Katko, the Republican Party candidate for the 24th Congressional District
Ryan Delaney WRVO

John Katko, the Republican candidate for the 24th Congressional District, outlined his five-point plan for veterans Wednesday.

Katko says most people don’t have a problem with the Veterans Affairs system in Syracuse, but emphasized that’s not the case nationwide. Katko said his experience as a federal prosecutor gives him the ability to hold accountable those responsible for falsifying VA records, as seen throughout the country. Katko also emphasized his willingness to reach across the aisle.

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12:05pm

Thu July 10, 2014
Public Radio Presents

Reveal, an investigative radio show

prx.org

Join us on Sunday July, 13 at 7:00 p.m. for Reveal, an investigative radio show from The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX. In this episode: an investigation into accidents and equipment failures in the military; a collaborative investigation into US water standards; and another in CIR's series of veteran investigations.

Profiting off of the GI Bill

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7:46am

Thu July 10, 2014
Regional Coverage

Details about $100 million Onondaga Lake West project announced, among some controversy

Residents listen to the presentation about the Onondaga Lake project at a meeting in Solvay Wednesday evening
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Onondaga County fleshed out details of the $100 million Onondaga Lake West project for residents of Solvay Wednesday night.  

One of the highlights of the presentation was a virtual video tour of the lake view amphitheater, starting at a box office then winding down tree lined sidewalks, past a small amphitheater and festival grounds to the main amphitheater on Lakeview Point.

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7:13am

Thu July 10, 2014
Politics and Government

Cuomo primary challenger predicts she'll have 45,000 petition signatures by Thursday deadline

Zephyr Teachout and Timothy Wu announce their intent run a primary race against incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo. (file photo)
Karen Dewitt WRVO

Zephyr Teachout, the Democratic primary challenger to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, expects to file more than 40,000 signatures late Thursday to obtain a place on the ballot for the September primary voting.

Teachout, a Fordham Law School professor, says she’ll file her petitions in the final hours before the deadline, at around nine Thursday evening.

“We have over 40,000 signatures of registered Democrats, and we expect to have 45,000 signatures,” Teachout said.

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6:27am

Thu July 10, 2014
Weather

How the weather service decides if a tornado touched down

Erik Heden, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Binghamton, in East Syracuse.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

At least four tornadoes ripped through central and northern New York Tuesday evening. It's the National Weather Service that makes that determination if a funnel cloud touched down. It's a careful and calculated process.

Armed with a compass, camera and notepad and paper the next morning, meteorologists Erik Heden and Mike Jurewicz retraced a storm that roared through Onondaga County, knocking down trees and power lines.

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5:30am

Thu July 10, 2014
Politics and Government

Lieutenant governor candidate Hochul keeps a low profile

Kathy Hochul joins Gov. Andrew Cuomo to announce their candidacy during the Democratic state convention in May.
Matt Ryan, New York Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s running mate, lieutenant governor nominee Kathy Hochul, is keeping an unusually low profile during the first months of the election campaign. The lack of public campaigning by Hochul is starting to raise some questions.

Kathy Hochul, a former one-term congresswoman and former Erie County clerk, appeared with Cuomo at the state Democratic convention in May, one day after she was chosen to run as lieutenant governor.

Hochul promised the audience that she would “carry our message of hope and optimism across this great state.”

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4:08pm

Wed July 9, 2014
Regional Coverage

Smithfield community in shock after tornado strikes; governor offers condolences

This house in Smithfield was pulled off its foundation, seen in background, and destroyed.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

The National Weather Service has determined that it was a tornado that touched down in a rural part of Madison County last night, killing four people, including an infant.  

Barbara Watson, lead meteorologist for the National Weather Service, made the tornado determination after surveying  damage along Goff Road in the town of Smithfield.

"It will be declared a significant tornado.  It had wind speeds well over 100 miles per hour,” said Watson.

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3:03pm

Wed July 9, 2014
Entertainment

Onondaga County to unveil plans for amphitheater in Solvay

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney says the public will be surprised by how far the project has come so far.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

Just about six months ago, Gov. Andrew Cuomo came to central New York to announce that the state would chip in $30 million for a multi-million dollar plan to revitalize the western lakeshore of Onondaga Lake, including the village of Solvay. Today, Onondaga County is ready to share with the public detailed plans about what this development entails.

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11:41am

Wed July 9, 2014
Regional Coverage

Tornado with winds at least 110 mph hit Smithfield

An aerial view of the damage in Smithfield
Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

The National Weather Service officially declared that it was a tornado that struck the town of Smithfield in Madison County, killing four people, destroying four homes and severely damaging three others.

Madison County Sheriff Allen Riley announced that the victims include Kimberly Hillard, 35; her four-month-old baby, Paris Newman; Virginia Warner, 70; and Arnie A.D. Allen, 53.

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5:58am

Wed July 9, 2014
Regional Coverage

Tornado kills 4 in Madison County; thunderstorms leave thousands without power around region

Damage from Tuesday's thunderstorm in Smithfield in Madison County where four people were killed
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

The National Weather Service says a tornado struck the Smithfield area killing four people in Madison County and leaving tens of thousands without power and causing significant damage through the region.

A line of severe thunderstorms moved through the entire region of western, central and northern New York Tuesday evening causing damage in various areas, but Smithfield suffered the worse.

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5:30am

Wed July 9, 2014
Politics and Government

GOP candidate for governor will also run on anti-Common Core ballot line

Rob Astorino, the GOP candidate for governor, at a press conference opposing the Common Core learning standards Tuesday.
Karen Dewitt WRVO

The Republican candidate for governor in New York is petitioning to run on a new ballot line that capitalizes on public opposition to the new Common Core learning standards.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino is gathering signatures to run on a third ballot line in November. In addition to the GOP and Conservative party slots, Astorino has begun a new ballot line called Stop Common Core. He admits it could give Democrats and others who are reluctant to vote for the Republican Party another option.

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9:41pm

Tue July 8, 2014
Weather

Powerful storm slams East Syracuse; fatalities in Madison County

An uprooted tree on McCool Ave. in East Syracuse after powerful storms tore through the village Tuesday.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Trees were on front yards, on cars, in roads, on power lines and on top of houses in East Syracuse after a powerful storm system swept through the village Tuesday evening.

A few hours later, residents were using the remaining daylight to survey damage, many walking around or sitting in their driveway, others checking in on neighbors. Chainsaws were already roaring to begin cleaning up.

Emergency crews requested power be shut off to the entire village as power lines were down across several streets and yards.

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7:47pm

Tue July 8, 2014
Regional Coverage

Severe storms kill 3 people in Madison County, damage homes, cause power outages throughout region

The screen at the Midway Drive-In in Minetto is destroyed by the storm
Photo courtesy of Oswego County resident Rick Grosvent

10:04 p.m. update:

The National Weather Service says three people died from the storms in Madison County.

Family members confirm to WRVO News that three people were killed in Peterboro when the homes they were in on Goff Road collapsed after being pounded by thunderstorms.

The deceased include a mother and her four-month-old daughter who were in a single family home. Another woman, approximately 70 years old, according to family members, was in a mobile home that was also destroyed. In all, four homes collapsed.

From earlier:

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4:22pm

Tue July 8, 2014
Energy

Hydrofracking decison may impact more than just oil and gas industry

Bosc d'Anjou Flickr

 

In a decision released last week, the highest court in New York ruled that local governments can ban drilling within their borders. And while hydrofracking remains on hold in the state, the ruling is expected to have a huge impact on the industry in New York if fracking is eventually permitted.

 

The dean of the law school at Cornell University, Eduardo Penalver, helps explain the court's ruling

upholding local bans on gas drilling in New York.

 

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7:21am

Tue July 8, 2014
Regional Coverage

Disaster readiness program encourages communities to pool knowledge and experience

An emergency backpack, along with some of the supplies needed in the case of an emergency.
Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services

The National Weather Service predicts 2014 will be a relatively tame hurricane season. But memories of hurricanes like Sandy and Irene, as well as tropical storm Lee, have led Gov. Andrew Cuomo to create the Citizen Preparedness Corps in hopes of training New Yorkers to be their own first responders.

New York State Department of Homeland Security Commissioner Jerome Hauer didn't mince words when he spoke about the Citizen Preparedness Corps training classes.

“Getting the population to deal with a disaster on their own is absolutely critical,” Hauer said.

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5:37am

Tue July 8, 2014
Regional Coverage

Auburn Housing Authority bans smoking in public housing units

Dale M Moore Flickr

There will be no more smoking inside apartments operated by the Auburn Housing Authority.

Auburn Housing Authority Director Stephanie Hutchinson says the idea for the smoking ban began when non-smokers started speaking up.

"We had received a number of complaints from tenants whose neighbors smoked, saying they could smell inside their apartment units, and they were worried for their children’s health," Hutchinson said. "And that’s where it really started."

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1:32am

Tue July 8, 2014
Politics and Government

Medical marijuana becomes legal in New York

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signs the medical marijuana bill into law on Monday.
Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

New York is now the 23rd state to allow medical marijuana, now that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill into law. But, it will be some time before patients will have access to the drug.

New York will now permit patients with diseases like cancer and AIDS to have access to some forms of medical marijuana. Cuomo, who in the past opposed the idea, came around  after several new regulations and restriction guarantees were written into the legislation.

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9:08am

Mon July 7, 2014
Regional Coverage

Miner calls for increased broadband access in Syracuse

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner says the city can't have a modern economy without access to high-speed Internet and strong phone service.

Miner has recently called for better broadband in Syracuse, and has signed a petition to the state's Public Service Commission asking for an investigation into broadband's rollout in the state.

"And what I have seen firsthand is a number of businesses who said they wanted to locate to Syracuse, or expand in Syracuse, but couldn't because of a lack of access to affordable broadband or telecommunications," Miner said.

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7:26am

Mon July 7, 2014
Environment

Environmental group tests Erie Canal and Oswego River water for invasive species

The Nature Conservancy's Andrew Tucker empties water from a collection tube into a container held by Benjamin Wegleitener.
Gino Geruntino WRVO

The Nature Conservancy and other environmental groups are making use of a recently developed DNA sampling technique to determine whether or not any invasive species might be swimming, living or growing in the Oswego River and Erie Canal. By taking hundreds of water samples, the group believes it can slow the growth of invasive species in the state.

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6:45am

Mon July 7, 2014
Transportation

Red to green: Syracuse working to upgrade traffic signal system

Traffic moves through downtown Syracuse at the intersection of Warren and East Washington Streets.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

It’s what every commuter hates when trying to get to work in the morning: red lights. They slow drive times down and waste gas, but the city of Syracuse is working to upgrade its traffic light system, so drivers see more green.

"By coordinating the traffic lights, what happens is, we can tell the traffic light not only how long to be green in a certain direction, but when to go green," explains Harry Carlson of the city's public works department.

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5:48am

Mon July 7, 2014
Health

Cuomo vows to reduce number of AIDS cases in New York

World Bank Photo Collection

Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced a plan he hopes will end the AIDS epidemic in New York state by the year 2020, but much of what’s involved in the three-point program is already being done.

The governor's program is called “Bending the Curve," and concentrates on three things: identifying people who test HIV positive; linking those people to healthcare and connecting them to anti-HIV therapy to prevent further transmission; and stopping high-risk behavior among others to keep them HIV negative.

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4:42pm

Sun July 6, 2014
The Upstate Economy

Michael Falcone on the Campbell Conversations

Michael Falcone, left, speaks with Campbell Conversations host Grant Reeher

Michael Falcone is Chairman Emeritus of the Pioneer Companies, a commercial real estate development enterprise in Upstate New York, Denver, and Phoenix.  Prior to that, he was a partner with Robert Congel in the Pyramid Companies.  In this edition of the Campbell Conversations, Grant Reeher speaks with him about malls, hotels, the development trajectory of Syracuse, the proper role of government in development, and Syracuse University's impact on the city.

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6:01am

Fri July 4, 2014
Environment

Giant Hogweed poses threat to both plants and people

Giant Hogweed hides out in the woods near the Rice Creek Field Station in Oswego.
Gino Geruntino WRVO

New York has a big problem with an invasive species you may have never heard of. Giant hogweed is a poisonous plant that can overtake entire fields with its giant leaves and can cause painful blisters on a person's skin. But the state Department of Environmental Conservation says it's stepping up its digging and spraying program to help control the plant and even eradicate it in some spots.

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5:27am

Fri July 4, 2014
Regional Coverage

Fireman's Association says leave the pyrotechnics to the professionals

Derek Key

Fireworks are a staple of Fourth of July celebrations. But one statewide organization is worried about sparks that will start flying in backyard pyrotechnics displays this weekend.

More fires are reported on July 4th than any other day of the year, according to the Fireman’s Association of New York State. And 60 percent of all fireworks injuries happen in the weeks immediately before and after the holiday.  

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3:56pm

Thu July 3, 2014
Business

City seizes Hotel Syracuse through eminent domain

Ryan Delaney WRVO

The City of Syracuse has used legal channels to take control of the Hotel Syracuse after several efforts to redevelop the historic downtown lodging site have failed.

Syracuse and its economic development arm, the Syracuse Industrial Development Agency, transferred title of the property to the site's developer, Ed Riley.

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2:37pm

Thu July 3, 2014
Regional Coverage

Fort Drum unlikely to house Central American immigrant children

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) says the chances are slim that undocumented children caught trying to cross the US-Mexican border illegally will be housed at Fort Drum.

The Army base is reportedly being considered to house hundreds of Central American immigrant children under a government program as soon as August

But Schumer says he’s spoken with officials at the Department of Health and Human Services:

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