News

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

New York state’s Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Bronx native, has spent a portion of the summer touring upstate New York. The speaker replaced Sheldon Silver who was arrested on corruption charges earlier this year.

Heastie has been to Buffalo, Binghamton, Syracuse and Utica, the Thousand Islands and surrounding areas as part of a listening tour to familiarize himself with issues that might not be front and center in New York City.  

“I’m used to cement,” said, Heastie who said says he’s “gained an appreciation” of the beauty of upstate regions.

NY Assembly Video (file)

The speaker of the New York State Assembly says any talks about convincing General Electric executives to relocate their headquarters back to New York should include discussions on the company’s Superfund cleanup of PCBs in the Hudson River that’s about to end.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been talking to GE executives, trying to lure the company’s corporate headquarters back to New York, according to a report by Politico New York.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand was in North Syracuse on Tuesday and she responded to Sen. Charles Schumer’s decision to vote against the Obama administration’s Iran nuclear deal, which would lift U.S., China, Russia and European Union sanctions on Iran in exchange for limits put on Iran’s nuclear program.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Democratic candidates for Onondaga County Legislature are calling for tougher financial disclosures among elected officials and more accountability to the public. Among the four candidates proposing changes are Kevin Tees, running in the 14th District based in Clay, and Tim Rudd, running for the 15th District in Syracuse.

All four have listed five items they believe the county government can do differently.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

There are no issues too small for Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), who is expected to become the next majority leader in the U.S. Senate. Schumer visited central New York Monday to put some heft behind the complaint one small town has against a big corporation.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

As the fourth anniversary of the devastating storms Irene and Lee approaches, the Cuomo administration says it’s more ready than ever for hurricanes, floods, and other adverse weather events .

Since Gov. Andrew Cuomo took office in 2011, there’s been a succession of severe storms, including hurricanes Irene and Lee that brought massive flooding to upstate and Superstorm Sandy in 2012 that flooded beach front communities on Long Island and submerged portions of the New York City subway system in corrosive salt water.

kristen_a / Flickr

Primary voting day for New York will be held on a Thursday this year instead of the traditional Tuesday. 

This change is important for the city of Watertown. Voters are expected to choose which mayoral candidates will move onto the general election that day. Watertown city officials hope the date switch won’t keep people from the polls.

With two of the Tuesdays in September falling during the Jewish holidays Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur,  Gov. Andrew Cuomo approved changing the primary voting day to Thursday, September 10. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News file photo

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) will conduct a statewide internet lottery that offers a chance for New Yorkers to see Pope Francis when he comes to Washington D.C. this September.  

Schumer will offer a single ticket to the joint meeting of Congress with the pope, as well as 100 pairs of tickets to the papal audience on the West Lawn of the Capitol.

Solvejg Wastvedt / WSKG News

The education programs that serve New York’s prison population are streamlining the path to a college degree. Private organizations offer college classes in 19 state facilities. Now several of the groups have formed a consortium to help students make it to graduation day.

In the past, transfer to a new prison often meant the end of an education for people working on their degrees. Many facilities don’t offer college programs. And even if they do, there are uncertainties: Will credits transfer? Are spots in the program open?

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News file photo

Workers are putting the finishing touches on a couple of model rooms at the former Hotel Syracuse this week.

Most of the interior of hotel has been taken down to its studs as part of a $57 million dollar renovation. That includes floors two through nine which will be home to 261 rooms in the new Marriott Downtown Syracuse.  

Al Gough, chief financial officer for Hotel Syracuse Restoration, says it’s important to have these model rooms available well before the hotel opening, anticipated next spring.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been making frequent trips to upstate cities this summer, touting his success in reviving the regions’ faltering economy. But a new report from the New York state comptroller on job creation shows there is still some work to do.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

Onondaga County and its biggest union are close to agreeing to a contract. As WRVO’s Ellen Abbott reports, the county and CSEA leadership have agreed to the terms within a fact-finding report from the New York State Employment Relations Board.

The deal includes modest wage increases over five years, and raises health insurance contributions from employees. County Executive Joanie Mahoney says that reflects a changing trend in contracts for government employees, who traditionally were paid less than private sector counterparts, but had better benefits packages.

Wellness tourism taking the vacation world by storm

Aug 16, 2015
Villa Amor / Flickr

In the past, vacations were ways for many to shed responsibilities and relax. That trend, however, seems to be as old as Disney World, as the idea of wellness trips slowly take over the vacation scene.

This week on “Take Care,” print, television, and digital journalist Ismat Sarah Mangla talks about the new travelling trend and what fuels people to be active during their vacations.

Summer woes: brain freeze and dark clothing

Aug 16, 2015
Jereme Rauckman / Flickr

Brain freeze. Most people have had one of these so-called “ice cream headaches,” but how do they happen, and why doesn’t everybody get them?

This week on “Take Care” we talk to Dr. Mark Green, director of the Center for Headache and Pain Medicine and professor of neurology and anesthesiology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

The uniqueness of diverticulitis and how to treat it

Aug 16, 2015
euthman / Flickr

In the medical field, the suffix ‘-itis' stands for inflammation. Bronchitis, laryngitis, etc., are all inflammatory medical problems.

This week on “Take Care,” Dr. Rajeev Jain tackles the unique inflammatory condition, diverticulitis. Jain is the chief of gastroenterology at Texas Heath Dallas and a partner at Texas Digestive Disease Consultants.

Betty Nudler / Flickr

Taking a vacation and a break from the stresses of everyday life may seem like a healthy thing to do in and of itself. But recently a new trend has emerged called wellness tourism. It incorporates a range of ways to get healthy while you travel. This week, On WRVO's health and wellness show “Take Care,” hosts Linda Lowen and Lorraine Rapp speak with journalist Ismat Sarah Mangla of International Business Times. Mangla has written about the growing business of wellness tourism.

e-MagineArt.com / Flickr

Health care advocacy organizations are calling for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign a bill on his desk that would help ensure doctors have the ultimate say over what medications their patients take.  

If your doctor prescribes a medication, your insurance will cover it. Right? That concept is called “provider prevails.” In other words, the medical provider gets to be the judge about what drugs the patient should take.

That authority particularly matters for people living with AIDS, epilepsy, and certain mental health conditions who take expensive medications.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

During summer vacation, many low-income kids depend on free lunch programs. Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul visited a summer meal site in Elmira Thursday to talk up state support for such efforts, but programs in rural areas, lilke Chemung County, still struggle with a big challenge.

Kids who participate in the government’s free summer meal program must show up at a designated site during scheduled hours to get their food. That can be a problem in rural areas.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

Syracuse Common Councilor-at-Large Kathleen Joy is negotiating with Mayor Stephanie Miner’s chief of staff Bill Ryan, to settle a lawsuit brought by a majority of common councilors who refused to sign a computer use policy. Those councilors have been without computer access since the beginning of July. A judge rejected a petition from Syracuse councilors to make city officials restore their computer access while the two sides negotiate a new computer use policy.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner is urging the state to make changes in voting laws so it will be easier for people to go to the polls.  The mayor made her plea surrounded by several local lawmakers and candidates for office and says even she sometimes forgets its Election Day.

stgermh / Flickr

 

New Yorkers will get their first chance in 20 years to vote on whether to hold a convention to change the state’s constitution in November of 2017. But groups advocating for an informed vote on the issue say it’s not too early to start getting the word out.

A constitutional convention, dry as it may sound, has the potential to make big changes to New York’s government. Delegates could decide to switch to a unicameral legislature, or require that lawmakers be full time. They could also tighten what critics say are lax campaign contribution laws.  

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

A program that provides a book a month to impoverished pre-schoolers in the city of Syracuse could be expanding. This comes after research that shows that the thousands of books that have been sent to 6,000 youngsters in the city have made a difference.

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library program run by the Literacy Coalition of Onondaga County has been sending books to children for five years now. And LeMoyne researcher Frank Ridzi says they have tested children who have been part of the program in that time and found success.  

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The Onondaga County Legislature approved the creation of a jail oversight committee in January. The legislature appointed Barrie Gewanter to be the commission’s new executive director. Gewanter has been working as the director of the central New York chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union since 2003.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner's administration sent letters to common councilors outlining a framework for changing the city's computer use policy. The majority of Syracuse common councilors sued the Miner administration for cutting off their Internet access after they refused to sign the administration’s computer use policy.

Eileen Buckley / WBFO News file photo

New York State Education officials say there’s some improvement in the Common Core aligned math and English tests taken by third through eighth graders this year, but admit that two-thirds of the students who took the test are still, essentially, failing the exams.

Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia, who just began her job in July, put the best face on data that shows student test scores in third through eighth grade math and English tests have made just incremental progress in year three of the state’s implementation of the Common Core learning standards.

Bret Jaspers / WSKG

Upstate airports may have a lot at stake with the recently announced plan to renovate LaGuardia Airport in New York City.

Flight slots into New York City are highly coveted by the airlines, according to Mike Hall.

Hall manages the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport. He said who gets which slots are determined by the airlines, airports and federal regulators.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO News File Photo

The Designated AIDS Center at Upstate University Hospital has won a state grant that will expand treatment programs. 

The idea is to make sure people infected with the HIV virus continue treatment that keeps the virus at bay.

Program director Kelley Flood says they will target people who might not follow up on the care they need to corral the virus that can lead to AIDS.

Monica Sandreczki / WSKG News

Rep. Richard (R-Barneveld) Hanna paid a visit to an urban farm in Binghamton on Monday to meet with representatives from organizations that try to address food security.

Randi Quackenbush works with the Food Bank of the Southern Tier. She asked Hanna to consider supporting the new Hunger Free Summer for Kids Act.

"There’s two options. For some families, they could get a summer EBT card, which they would get $30 up to $100 per household," said Quackenbush. "They would just get a little extra food stamp money in the summer, which would be the simplest thing.”

Solvejg Wastvedt / WSKG News

Summer is a lean time for adjunct professors. They teach part-time, and in the summer there are often fewer courses available for them. At Binghamton University, things get even tighter.

EPA says clean power plan will protect public health

Aug 12, 2015
Kate O'Connell / WXXI File Photo

New carbon standards in the Clean Power Plan announced earlier this month by the Obama administration are also intended to improve your health. The goal of the new rules and regulations is to reduce the 7,500 deaths per year linked to particle pollution from power plants.

The Environmental Protection Agency calls climate change a threat to human health.Judith Enck, EPA administrator for the region that includes New York state, says the new standards will make the air easier to breathe for people with repertory illnesses, like the 25 million Americans who live with asthma.

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