News

Julia Botero / WRVO News

A group from Jefferson and Lewis Counties has helped set a new world record... by planting a whole bunch of trees in just one hour.  Groups all over North America joined in the challenge in their communities. More than 200,000 trees were planted in nearly 30 different places across the continent. 

At the Sand Flats State Forest in the Tug Hill, people were racing to get new saplings into the ground.

Chris and Jenni / Flickr

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield is trying to discourage mothers from early elective deliveries. The insurance company is sending out information to doctors and health care facilities, warning about problems that can come from delivering babies early.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

In the wake of federal lawmakers delaying a decision on the future of the Federal Highway Trust Fund, Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner continues the drumbeat calling for more spending on America’s roads and bridges.  

No yolks about it, eggs are healthy

May 31, 2015
UnknownNet Photography / Flickr

One day you hear they’re good for you and other days you hear they’re bad. The healthiness (or unhealthiness) of eggs have been debated for decades. Does the protein outweigh the cholesterol? What makes an egg good or bad and should we continue incorporating eggs into our diets?

This week on “Take Care,” Dr. Luc Djousse discusses the nutritional value of eggs. Djousse is director of research in the Division of Aging at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and is assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Want a taste? Taste buds and supertasters

May 31, 2015
animantis / Flickr

The human tongue is an organ that enables us to enjoy the sense of taste. And on the tongue lies those bumps that we call our taste buds, which makes eating chocolate so pleasurable and ice cream so indulgent.

This week on “Take Care,” hosts Linda Lowen and Lorraine Rapp talk to Dr. Linda Bartoshuk about how those taste buds work and why people have different tastes than others. Dr. Bartoshuk is the director of human research at the University of Florida Center for Smell and Taste, and is the scientist behind the groundbreaking discovery of supertasters -- individuals who have stronger reactions to taste than most of us.

Solvejg Wastvedt / WSKG News

Part-time faculty at Ithaca College voted to unionize on Thursday after a four-month effort. Union “yes” votes prevailed by a margin of 119.

“I’m feeling pretty good about that,” says Ithaca College adjunct lecturer Rachel Kaufman. She helped organize the effort.

“A lot of people really want this union,” she says. “It’s something we had a strong sense of before, but it’s great to have it confirmed. I’m really looking forward to negotiations and making things better.”

Eggs -- incredible again?

May 29, 2015
Marina Shemesh / Flickr

First medical experts told us not to eat too many eggs because they're high in cholesterol. But earlier this year, we were told that eating cholesterol is not what causes heart disease. This week on WRVO's health and wellness show "Take Care", hosts Lorraine Rapp and Linda Lowen interview Dr. Luc Djousse, director of research in the Division of Aging at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and an assistant professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. They discuss the nutrients found in eggs and how dietary cholesterol really works.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

New York State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan came to central New York Thursday, for his first upstate trip outside of Albany since being elected to the leadership post. He was here supporting the annual Republican clam bake fundraiser.

Flanagan was elected majority leader earlier in the month when former leader Dean Skelos resigned after being arrested on federal corruption charges. Flanagan, who represents the 2nd district in Long Island, says he wants to travel around the upstate area to show that upstate and downstate share similar issues.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo visited a state prison Thursday to announce he’s hiring  more  guards, and to push for a change in how 16- and 17-year-olds are treated in the state prison system.

Cuomo has been pressing the issue known as Raise the Age since his State of the State message in January. It would no longer treat 16- and 17-year-olds accused of violent crimes as adults, and instead house them in special detention centers separate from the adult state prison system. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Central New York boosters of universal health care are celebrating this week, after the state Assembly passed the New York Health Act.

The legislation would provide universal, comprehensive health care to all New Yorkers.

“What it means is -- basically -- when you’re born, you have health insurance,” says retired physician Joal Potash. He volunteers at free medical clinics in Syracuse.

Karen Dewitt / WRVO News file photo

The former leader of the state Senate was formally indicted on federal corruption charges Thursday. Sen. Dean Skelos resigned as leader earlier in May after the accusations against him were announced by the U.S. attorney.

Shinichi Sugiyama / Flickr

Sharing -- it’s one of the first lessons kids learn in school. And now New York is telling schools that they have to share, too. The state wants schools to come together and save money.

“In our case the 15 districts in Broome-Tioga BOCES have to realize an annual savings of $2.7 million,” says Windsor Central School District superintendent Jason Andrews.

Destiny USA

Tourism is growing in central New York, up 17 percent in the last five years, according to industry officials. And at a tourism roundtable in Syracuse Wednesday they agreed there are still more ways to boost tourism dollars.  

Travel spending in the five counties of central New York amounts to nearly $1.2 billion, employing 25,000 people. So it’s a huge industry already, according to David Holder of the Syracuse Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

In the final weeks of the legislative session, groups are lobbying for some of the major remaining issues still on the table, including the mayor of New York City, and groups who want a property tax break for homeowners struggling to hold on to their houses. And both accuse Gov. Andrew Cuomo of not taking an active enough role.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Finding out who tests positive for the H-I-V virus and getting them treated are cornerstones of a central New York strategy to meet the state’s goal of ending AIDS by 2020.  

HIV testing by ACR Health is already up 20 percent since December, after a new push to get more people tested according to Jeanette O’Connor-Shanley, the agency's director of support services. And when individuals test positive, they move on to the next part of their strategy to cut back on the number of new aids patients. 

Melinda Shelton / Flickr

Efforts to raise expectations for New York’s teachers have stalled. In 2014, the state rolled out four new, tougher teacher certification tests. But last week the state delayed the requirement.

The Board of Regents cited low pass rates on the new tests as reason for the delay. So they created a “safety net.” Until next June, teachers who fail to pass the new exams can get certified in other ways. The state wants to give would-be teachers more time to adjust.

But SUNY Cortland School of Education dean Andrea LaChance doesn't want to adjust.

bdrogin / Flickr

A New York State senator wants to make sure that veterans discharged from the military because of their sexual orientation can qualify for state programs.

New York has 53 programs for veterans, according to State Sen. Brad Hoylman of Manhattan. Those include scholarships, health screenings, and reimbursements for burial costs.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Syracuse-area Rep. John Katko is touring schools in central New York this week, looking for ways to strengthen education policy.

It’s a story Katko says he’s heard again and again: federally mandated standardized testing is stifling teaching flexibility, and forcing all children to be taught in a one-size-fits-all curriculum. To make his point at a news conference Tuesday, he read a letter he received from an Onondaga County sixth grader, upset at the way he sees test prep taking over schools.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

New York state has a new education commissioner. The New York State board of Regents, after a lengthy closed door session, chose MaryEllen Elia, a former western New York school teacher who was most recently the superintendent of a large school district in Florida.

Elia, a Lewiston, NY native who taught in public schools in the Buffalo suburb of Amherst early in her career, says she is glad to be “coming home” after many years away.

Zach Hirsch / NCPR

This summer, Army officials say they’ll pull the plug on a post-traumatic stress treatment program for Fort Drum soldiers. It’s the program at the River Hospital in Alexandria Bay, about a half hour away from the base. Under the Army’s orders, it’ll be replaced with mental health services on Fort Drum.

North Country Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-Willsboro) says she’s urging the Army to reconsider.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

A new poll finds Gov. Andrew Cuomo with the lowest approval ratings since he took office, in a year where corruption scandals have dominated news at the Capitol.  

The Siena College survey is the second in a month that shows the governor’s support eroding.  Only 41 percent think Cuomo is doing a good job in office, though he’s still viewed favorably overall by 53 percent of voters.  The Democrat governor fared the worst with New York City and Republican voters.

NYS Assembly

The future of the state’s property tax cap is one of the big items on the docket as state lawmakers head back to Albany to finish up the current session. Supporters of the tax cap, including business groups, Republicans in the state Senate and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, are pushing to make the tax cap permanent. 

Syracuse-area Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli thinks the tax cap has worked.

"I think it has been successful in keeping property taxes down,” said Magnarelli.

Decaseconds / Flickr

New York’s Public Service Commission is considering a price increase request by the New York State Electric and Gas Corporation.
 
The average customer’s natural gas bill would increase by $10 a month and their electricity bill would increase $8 a month under NYSEG’s request.
 

Mike Mozart / Flickr

Central New York emergency medical technicians have increasingly been on the lookout for liquid nicotine overdoses.  

As the use of smokeless e-cigarettes continues to grow, more and more liquid nicotine is ending up in the homes of Americans. And it’s not safe, says Upstate Medical University toxicologist Nicholas Nacca.

Internet service may soon flow faster In New York

May 26, 2015
Bret Jaspers / WSKG News file photo

Despite the importance of the Internet to our daily lives, service can be unreliable, slow, or expensive, especially in rural areas. Local governments and businesses are waiting on details of how they can apply for $500 million of state money -- money that will be used, with private sector dollars, for broadband infrastructure projects.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

A political newcomer is running for the seat on the Onondaga County legislature, currently held by legislature Chairman Ryan McMahon. Tim Rudd says he’s a candidate in the district that includes parts of the city of Syracuse and the town of Geddes.

Rudd had one issue to talk about in his introductory news conference: campaign ethics.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The Central New York Vietnam Veterans of America held their annual watchfire at the New York State Fairgrounds last night. Thousands of people came to honor the memory of those who have served.

River Hospital

A program at River Hospital in Alexandria Bay, N.Y., that treats soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder will end in July. The Army issued orders to move mental health treatment onto military installations.

Ben Moore, the program’s director, said his staff successfully treated more than 250 soldiers with PTSD since 2012.

"I was absolutely stunned," Moore said. "I had no warning. Now we're going to have to figure out how we adapt to this.”

ExperienceSymphoria.org

Symphoria, a cooperative orchestra in central New York where the musicians are the owners, announced its new 2015-16 season. And, with the upcoming season, Symphoria's new music director is focused on making the orchestra more accessible to the public.

As orchestras in major cities across the country experience declining ticket sales, Syracuse's Symphoria is ahead of track on their subscription sales for next season. Larry Loh, who will officially begin as the music director of Symphoria this fall, admits growing an audience for the orchestra is challenging.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

It’s time for emergency rooms to prepare for typical summertime injuries involving children. Often that means accidents involving kids on bikes, skateboards or scooters. One Syracuse hospital says the worst of those injuries can be avoided.

When 10-year-old Michael Caltabiano of Syracuse heads out on his bike, he always wears a helmet. And when he sees other kids without one, he has a message for them:

"I tell them that wearing a helmet, keeps them out of the hospital. It’s a great, great idea."

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