News

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Local criminal justice advocates are trying to put pressure on Albany to reform the justice system. 

A local coalition is trying to build support for proposed legislation in Albany that, among other things, eliminates cash bail for misdemeanors or low-level felonies.  Syracuse attorney and activist Herve Comeau said the inequalities of the cash bail system really hit home for him last December.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow is calling on the Oswego Common Council to approve what he says will be the city's most effective code enforcement measure to date - a tool that would target vacant houses. 

The 200 block of West 7th Street in Oswego a quaint neighborhood. The streets are lined with well-kept homes, making the house at 213 stand out like a sore thumb. the vacant property's cement steps are crumbling, the siding is rotting and a bright orange sign on the front window warns neighbors that it's a dangerous building.

Tom Fazzio / Syracuse University

The city of Syracuse has one of the highest concentrations of poverty in the nation. How does housing discrimination and segregation factor into that? This week on the Campbell Conversations, Grant Reeher talks with Sally Santangelo, Executive Director of CNY Fair Housing. They discuss the many facets of housing discrimination in Syracuse and across central New York.

Interview highlights

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

The New York State Public Service Commission has approved of National Grid rate hikes. Over the next three years, the monthly electric and gas bills of residential customers could increase by about $16 dollars. The plan includes a discount program for low-income customers.

A spokesperson for National Grid released this statement.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney has started publicly making her case over how she would like to distribute the sales tax revenue collected in the county.

Mahoney said she is worried about potential anti-city sentiment ruling the day, in negotiations that create a formula to share sales tax revenue between the county and local governments. So, she turned a portion of this year’s State of the County speech into a primer about ways the county helps town and village governments.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Town of Oswego in Oswego County is working to improve its finances after a state audit revealed mismanagement that contributed to the loss of nearly 90 percent of its reserves.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News File Photo

Survivors of childhood sexual abuse delivered an emotional appeal to state senators Wednesday after they learned that the Senate did not put the Child Victims Act into their budget plan. The measure would offer more opportunities for survivors to gain justice in the court system.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News (file photo)

As part of National Walkout Day on Wednesday, high school students in Syracuse organized a rally to remember the victims of the Parkland, Florida shooting and support more gun control. Some educators hope the movement will create more politically engaged students.

Saoirse Murphy-Collins, a junior at Nottingham High School, helped organize Wednesday's protest in the school’s gym.

“The problem with gun violence is a really big issue in this nation and we’re trying to get it under control so more students don’t die and people get hurt,” Murphy-Collins said.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

An attorney representing some survivors of clergy sexual abuse is calling on both the Catholic Diocese of Syracuse and Ogdensburg to release names of all priests accused of abuse.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

High school students in Syracuse are calling for more gun control in solidarity with student walkouts across the country to honor the victims of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting. Ana Kreidler-Siwinski is a junior at Nottingham High School and helped organize a rally in the school’s gymnasium.

"I believe we shouldn’t stand by and be silent," Kreidler-Siwinski said. "Better late than never. Gun laws should be stricter in the future. If there were less easy ways for people with mental illnesses to grab guns, people with criminal records, then it would be better for society."

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

A federal jury found Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s former top aide Joe Percoco guilty on three counts of bribery and conspiracy to commit honest service fraud in a Manhattan courtroom on Tuesday.

Percoco, who has been described as being like a “brother” to the governor, was found guilty of participating in two bribery schemes, where he netted nearly $300,000.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia says she supports students who plan to demonstrate today against gun violence. School walkouts are planned across the nation at 10 a.m., including in New York state. It's an attempt to pressure lawmakers to act after the shooting that left 17 students dead in Parkland, Florida, last month.

Elia says school officials and teachers should work with students to make it a learning experience about civic engagement and what it means to be an active citizen in American.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

A divided crowd got into a heated debate at a recent Syracuse school board meeting over whether the district should change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Some said changing the name takes away a part of the history of Italian-Americans.

Last year, after requests from some students, the Syracuse City School District changed Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day / Columbus Day. Now, Andy Mager with Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation and others are appealing to the board to drop Columbus altogether.

Veronica Volk / Great Lakes Today

Regulators are working hard to avoid a repeat of last year’s flooding on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. The International Lake Ontario St. Lawrence River Board, which manages water levels, set a record last month for most water pushed downriver in any month since the dam was built in the 1950s. As a result, Lake Ontario levels are below where they were at the same time in 2017. 

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News (file photo)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s former top aide Joe Percoco has been found guilty on three counts of bribery and conspiracy to commit honest service fraud by a federal jury in Manhattan today.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to impose a tax on manufacturers of prescription opioids to help pay for state programs that assist people who are addicted to them. But some say it will be patients who ultimately will have to pay the price.

Cuomo laid out the opioid tax proposal in his state budget address nearly two months ago, saying it’s only fair that the makers of the pain pills shoulder some of the financial burden of treating people who became addicted to the medicines.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

The city of Syracuse is embarking on a series of pubic meetings to get final input on a project that reworks the city’s dated zoning ordinance and zoning map.

The last time the city’s 100-year-old zoning laws were updated was 1967. City Planner Owen Kerney said no one in the 1960s foresaw things like micro-breweries and doggie day cares opening up in the city; so the old ordinances can create roadblocks for certain projects.

"The community has changed a lot since then, but zoning laws haven’t,” Kerney said. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

The prospect of a beach for swimming on Onondaga Lake is taking a step forward.

It’s been almost 80 years since anyone was able to swim in Onondaga Lake from a public beach. Years of industrial pollution and sewage outflow destroyed any hope of public access until recent years, following a multi-million dollar cleanup of the lake once deemed the most polluted in the country.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

As a jury continues to deliberate in the bribery trial of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s former top aide, Cuomo has been keeping his focus on other matters, including appearing with former Vice President Al Gore to talk about energy and the environment.

Courtesy Brett Truett

This month is the deadline for property owners in downtown Utica to accept their purchase offers from the Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) as the company clears the way for its new hospital. One of those buildings has been sold, but not to MVHS.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

A school safety task force met in Syracuse recently to discuss procedures that can prevent or reduce the damage of a school shooting. Teachers and students want to know how safety in schools can be improved immediately, before a longer list of recommendations is made in August.

Tom Fazzio / Syracuse University

This November's Congressional elections may be the most important midterms in a generation. This week on the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher talks to Dana Balter, the Democratic Party's endorsed candidate to challenge Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) for central New York's 24th Congressional District seat. They discuss her campaign, her policy positions, and her case against Katko.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News (file photo)

By next winter, residents of the city of Syracuse could log on to the internet and find a map with brightly colored lines, telling them the last time a snow plow visited their street. It’s one potential application of ideas springing from the city’s latest hackathon.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Experts on harmful algal blooms in bodies of water across upstate are developing plans and informing the public on solutions to the problem. The blooms can negatively affect drinking water quality and recreational use of lakes. A series of summits, including one recently in Syracuse, are part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s initiative to reduce the blooms.

City of Syracuse Facebook page

The U.S. Small Business Administration in Syracuse offers a free program to help local business owners grow their companies. The SBA wants 15-20 new participants for the program this year.

The production facility for Recess Coffee in Syracuse is where all the roasting, baking, cold brew and administrative needs take place. Co-owner Jesse Daino said participating in the Emerging Leaders program helped them buy the facility.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

In the wake of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting, local leaders are convening a task force that will create a blueprint for school safety in central New York.

Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick says a massive government failure played a part in the Parkland tragedy.

“Parkland was a blueprint for government disaster," FitzPatrick said. "Ineffectiveness of almost every institution in Parkland that was designed to protect children in Parkland failed."

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Many school districts in central and northern New York have faced threats following the Florida high school shooting last month. It has resulted in school shutdowns and arrests of some students for making terroristic threats. As law enforcement aggressively investigates these incidents, some experts say it is a lack of emotional skills that is causing them.

-JvL- / Flickr

Things got heated on the New York State Senate floor this week over a debate on bills that majority party Republicans say will improve school safety. Meanwhile, the state Assembly on Tuesday passed its own set of gun control bills.

New York already has some of the strictest gun control measures in the nation, known as the SAFE Act. But since the shootings in Parkland, Florida, lawmakers from both major parties say there’s more to do to prevent school shootings.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Trump administration's proposed aluminum tariff could have a major impact on a couple of central and northern New York's largest employers.

Tune in over the next four weeks as "Freakonomics Radio" takes listeners behind the scenes of some of the most powerful companies in the world, interviewing these current and former CEOs:

Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Richard Branson (Virgin), Satya Nadella (Microsoft), Indra Nooyi (PepsiCo), Jack Welch (General Electric), Ellen Pao (Reddit), Carol Bartz (Yahoo!), Ray Dalio (Bridgewater Associates), and David Rubenstein (The Carlyle Group).

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