News

David Chanatry / New York Reporting Project at Utica College

The dispute over whether an energy company should be storing natural gas in salt caverns underneath Seneca Lake reaches a milestone this week.

For the last year and a half, more than 500 protestors from the group We Are Seneca Lake have been arrested at the Watkins Glen entrance of the Seneca Lake storage facility, owned by the Houston-based company Crestwood. The environmental group is upset with plans by Crestwood to expand storage of natural gas in salt caverns under Seneca Lake.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The impending closure of the Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Oswego County is already financially impacting the nearby Mexico School District. School district officials are planning for the loss of $2.8 million this year alone.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Oswego Common Council passed a law that requires second-hand stores, like pawn shops, to keep a detailed record of any items they buy and who sells it to them so police can track down stolen material. And, the stores would also have to keep any items they buy on the shelves for at least a week. It's modeled after similar anti-burglary laws in Syracuse, Onondaga county and Fulton.

Jason Braun, owner of the Wise Guyz pawn shop in Fulton, said the change will mean fewer thieves will be able to exploit unregulated Oswego pawn shops.

Julia Botero / WRVO news

The Hounsfield Town Planning Board voted unanimously last night to allow Dollar General to build a store on Route 3, near the village of Sackets Harbor. Residents who both oppose and support the development came to the meeting to voice their opinions Tuesday evening. After a heated exchange of viewpoints, many residents walked out. Others stayed and interrupted the board’s review of the Dollar General's site plans.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

Advocates for farm workers are trying a new route to gain the right to form a union and be allowed benefits afforded to other laborers in New York. They are suing the state government. Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he agrees with the farmworkers and won’t be defending the law in court.

For decades, migrant farmworkers and their advocates have tried to get a law passed to place the laborers under the protection of the state’s labor laws, giving them the right to form unions, and collectively bargain with their farmer employers for better working conditions.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

It’s been reported that subpoenas from the U.S. attorney in a federal probe of the Cuomo administration cover several of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s top staff and over two dozen companies doing business with the state. But Cuomo says his understanding is that the investigation focuses on just two people, who he has cut ties with.

cogdogblog / Flickr

The Affordable Care Act marketplaces have led to a bunch of new research. One study out this month looked at concentration of hospitals and insurance plans in New York and California.

The research on hospitals is pretty clear: fewer hospitals in a region means higher premiums.

But on a different metric, results varied state to state: the concentration of insurance plans available in a region didn’t have the same impact on insurance prices.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The city of Syracuse is staying out of fiscal stress, based on a system developed by the New York state comptroller’s office.

The city has never been flagged by Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli for having a government teetering towards insolvency.

“In the three years we’ve been doing this, Syracuse has never been in any stress categories and that certainly is very good news for this community,” said DiNapoli during a visit to Syracuse Monday.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

An elevated museum of sorts, bike trails, a blooming bridge, an outdoor ice skating park. Those are all some of the ideas that have been submitted to the “Elevating Erie” competition, focused on revamping Erie Boulevard East in Onondaga County. Now it’s time for the public to weigh in on potential projects that could turn six drab lanes of traffic into an historic and recreational destination.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

State Senate Republicans in the Elections Committee cast a vote on closing a campaign finance loophole, which has played a role in recent corruption trials of the former leaders of the legislature. But the act could doom the measure for the 2016 legislative session.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The Syracuse Common Council voted unanimously to approve a city budget for the next fiscal year. The budget still includes a $12 million deficit from Mayor Stephanie Miner’s proposal, but more money has been shifted toward road repairs.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News file photo

President Barack Obama has announced the biggest expansion of U.S. ground troops in Syria since the civil war there began. And that’s not sitting well with Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY).

The U.S. will deploy 250 special forces troops to help militia fighters in Syria. Schumer is leery about the operation.

"We have good fighting forces who can do the job -- the Kurds in particular. And we should not get into one of these snares, where first we have 200 troops, then 500 troops, then 5,000 troops,” Schumer.

Catherine Loper / WRVO News

The Jefferson County town of Hounsfield, near Sackets Harbor, may allow a Dollar General store to move in later this year, despite opposition. The town's planning board will meet Tuesday to consider a proposal to build the store at the intersection of Route 3 and County Route 75.

More than 100 residents have signed an online petition to stop the development.

Wayne Marshall / via Flickr

Onondaga County and the city of Syracuse have applied for funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to continue a lead paint removal program. The city has be unsuccessful in its last two attempts at funding since its program was put on probation in 2013.

Divorce later in life becoming more common

May 7, 2016
Edwin & Kelly Tofslie / Flickr

Over the last 10 years, divorce rates have been steadying in the U.S., with the exception of one age group.

This week on “Take Care,” journalist Abby Ellin tells us why, more and more, older couples seem to be splitting up. Ellin is a frequent contributor to The New York Times, and her work has also appeared in Time magazine and the Village Voice. Ellin's article, "After Full Lives Together, More Older Couples Are Divorcing," appeared in The New York Times last October.

Sam Howzit / Flickr

We’ve probably all seen a commercial at some point for medication to help a weak bladder, but it isn’t something we generally want to talk about if we have one.

This week on “Take Care,” Dr. Jenni Johnson Gabelsberg explains this problem, known as urinary incontinence, and how to fix it through physical therapy. Gabelsberg is a nationally prominent physical therapist whose focus is on pelvic floor rehabilitation. She has a doctor of physical therapy degree, and lectures widely on evaluation and treatment for female and male pelvic floor dysfunctions, such as urinary and fecal incontinence.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The Syracuse Fire Department has confirmed six people died in a fire that started early Friday morning on  the city's north side.

Officials said eight people lived in the home. A 33-year-old male was not home at the time of the fire. A 32-year-old woman was home when the fire started but was able to get out. She was taken to a hospital. A seven-year-old girl died as well as three boys ages 10, 12, and 13. A 33-year-old man and a 34-year-old man also died in the fire. Two of the bodies were found downstairs and four were found upstairs.

Jon Zella

The WRVO News and programming teams took home multiple awards at the 38th Annual Syracuse Press Club Awards and Scholarship Dinner on April 30, 2016, for work completed in 2015.

Nearly 180 people attended the awards ceremony, which honors journalists, photographers and others in the fields of radio, television, and digital content -- both professionals and students.

Winners in Radio | Work completed in 2015

Spot news

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Abuse of a common over-the-counter drug is the latest side effect of the heroin epidemic.

Loperamide, more commonly known by the brand name Imodium, is used by most people to treat diarrhea. But Upstate New York Poison Center clinical toxicologist Jeanna Marraffa says the drug is used by opioid addicts to get high, or to help with withdrawal symptoms. Marraffa says in large quantities it can activate some of the same receptors as opioids. The problem is, it can kill.

Why more older couples are getting divorced

May 6, 2016
adwriter / Flickr

Older adults are twice as likely to get divorced today as they were 25 years ago. This week on WRVO's health and wellness show "Take Care," hosts Lorraine Rapp and Linda Lowen speak with journalist Abby Ellin who has written about this trend for The New York Times, to shed light on this change in societal norms.

Lei Han / Flickr, Creative Commons

This week, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded more than $42 million to homeless housing programs across New York state. Organizations in Watertown, Geneva, Utica and Syracuse will receive funding. The effort to bolster housing nonprofits is part of the nation’s strategy to prevent and end homelessness.

Maureen Cean, who leads Transitional Living Services of Northern New York, based in Watertown, said housing programs have changed their strategy over the years.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

Opponents of a planned fracked gas power plant in the Hudson Valley say they are hoping the U.S. attorney will investigate decisions made in the permitting process for the plan, now that it’s been revealed that the wife of a former top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo took payments from the lead engineering firm in the project, and that her husband is the subject of a federal probe.

Kevin Withus

Friday marks the last day of classes for SUNY Oswego students for the year, which means the return of the annual bar crawl, Bridge Street Run (BSR). While BSR is considered a long-time college tradition, SUNY Oswego is hoping to build its own tradition as an alternative.

Candidates set for Hanna's seat in Congress

May 6, 2016
Bret Jaspers / WSKG News

The candidates to replace the retiring Rep. Richard Hanna (R-Barneveld) are now set -- and there was an unexpected change.

New York's 22nd Congressional District was shaping up to have two contested primaries. But the New York State Board of Elections said Democrat David Gordon, a former member of the Oneida County Legislature, didn’t get enough valid signatures. That leaves Broome County legislator Kim Myers as the only Democrat running.

Onondaga County is jumping on the Uber bandwagon.

State lawmakers are considering changes in state insurance laws that would allow ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft in upstate and other parts of the state they are currently prohibited. The Onondaga County Legislature, by unanimous vote, is encouraging them to do it.

“We are so far behind the eight ball on this,” said Legislator Kathy Rapp.

That’s why the Republican supported a memorializing resolution that asked the state to make the changes that would allow ride-sharing services in the Syracuse area.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s explanation of some of the circumstances of a U.S. attorney’s probe into his administration has left some answered questions.

Cuomo offered a brief explanation of his former top aide’s involvement in a scandal now encompassing his administration, saying the actions of Joe Percoco were perfectly legitimate. The governor says he knew that when Percoco left his $156,000-a-year job to manage Cuomo’s 2014 reelection campaign, that Percoco would also work for private clients, but that’s all he knew about the situation.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Health officials in central New York this week have announced that three people in Onondaga County and one in Oneida County have tested positive for the Zika virus. Officials say all four people contracted the virus while traveling outside the country, none were hospitalized, and there is no risk to the public. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The Syracuse City School District is proposing a $14 million budget increase for the next fiscal year. City councilors are worried overspending could lead to problems in the future.

The good news is graduation rates are up close to 60 percent, some of the highest in the past decade. More students are enrolling in career and technical education. Half of the schools that were marked as struggling by the state have moved off the list.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

It may not be the original plan to turn Murphy’s Island over to the Onondaga Nation, but Onondaga County lawmakers have promised to turn over some other piece of land along Onondaga Lake to the nation.

azipaybarah / Flickr

Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was sentenced to 12 years in prison by a federal judge Tuesday.

Over 100 family members, constituents and lobbyists wrote letters on behalf of the disgraced former Assembly speaker, Silver himself apologized in a letter, and his lawyers pleaded for mercy. Despite that, the judge, in addition to the prison time, ordered Silver to pay back $5 million he gained from illegal kickback schemes, as well as a $1.75 million fine.

Silver will be allowed to keep his public pension, along with an apartment and a house in the Catskills.

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