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1:12pm

Thu June 19, 2014
The Upstate Economy

Haitian connection integral to upstate couple's business model

Stephane Jean-Baptiste and Yve-Car Momperousse at home in Ithaca, New York.
Jim Day WXXI

Many new startup companies end up running their new business out of their homes, and that's the case for Stephane Jean-Baptiste and Yve-Car Momperousse who live and work in Ithaca, New York.

Their sustaining business model relies heavily on their relationship with the land and people of Haiti.

As you’ll see, they’re aiming to be both successful and socially-responsible entrepreneurs, and help in the re-building of the island nation devastated by the 2010 earthquake.

8:20am

Thu June 19, 2014
Infrastructure

More federal money sought for rural bridges

Sen. Charles Schumer wants to add about $50 million to funding that comes to New York for upkeep and repair of rural bridges.

The federal government provides the state with $71 million a year right now to maintain the thousands of bridges that don’t fall under federal purview. That number is tied to a 2009 transportation bill.

There are efforts in Congress to continue to cap that amount through 2020. The Democrat says continuing to cap the fund will lead to further deterioration of rural bridges. 

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6:35am

Thu June 19, 2014
Regional Coverage

Downtown Syracuse's boom is led by residential development

A view of South Salina Street in downtown Syracuse.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

Downtown Syracuse is in the midst of a multi-million dollar development boom. Much of this development is fueled by people who want to live downtown.

There are signs of construction all along the 300 block of South Salina Street in Syracuse. Downtown Committee executive director Merike Treier says today’s downtown has changed a lot in the last decade.

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6:15am

Thu June 19, 2014
Politics and Government

Cuomo, legislative leaders agree on heroin bills, still discussing medical marijuana

Medical marijuana advocates demonstrate in the hallway outside Gov. Andrew Cuomo's offices.
Karen Dewitt WRVO

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders have agreed to a package of bills combating heroin addiction, and say they are still discussing other issues, including medical marijuana, as the legislative session draws to a close.  

Cuomo calls the measures to curb the heroin abuse epidemic his top priority for the end of the 2014 session. He says the legislation will require health insurance companies to pay for more treatments.

“Insurance companies, frankly, can’t play games and decide who gets treatment and who doesn’t get treatment,” said Cuomo.

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5:57am

Thu June 19, 2014
Regional Coverage

Safe Haven Museum to hold 70th reunion for Oswego's Jewish refugees

A sign greets visitors to Oswego's Safe Haven Museum.
Gino Geruntino WRVO

Beginning Thursday, the Safe Haven Museum in Oswego is celebrating the 70th anniversary of when 982 Jewish refugees were first housed at Fort Ontario.

In 1944, President Franklin Roosevelt allowed 1,000 Jewish refugees to enter the United States as guests, and they lived at the decommissioned Fort Ontario base in Oswego until 1946, when they were allowed to stay as American citizens or return home. The refugee camp, known as "Safe Haven," was the only location of its kind in the U.S.

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1:09pm

Wed June 18, 2014
Sports

Washington Redskins name loses patent protection

Keith Allison via Flickr

The U.S. Patent Office has canceled the trademark of the Washington Redskins professional football team, ruling that it is offensive to Native Americans. 

It was efforts from the Oneida Indian Nation that put the name back in the spotlight.

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ruled Wednesday the Redskins nickname is "disparaging of Native Americans" and will no longer be protected. Patent law disallows the use of offensive names as trademarks.

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8:44am

Wed June 18, 2014
Regional Coverage

DiNapoli trying to reduce account of unclaimed funds

New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

New York’s Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is trying to whittle down a fund of abandoned or unclaimed money owed to both individuals and municipalities.

DiNapoli’s office says there are more than 31 million accounts in the state with money sitting in them. It can be a utility deposit or old bank account that sat unused too long and was turned over to the state.

About 10,000 of those unclaimed funds belong to towns and cities throughout the state, worth more than $5 million.

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7:46am

Wed June 18, 2014
Politics

Hanna invites Long Island congressman to upstate New York

Republican Rep. Richard Hanna (R-Barneveld) says that while he's moderate, he's willing to listen and talk to more conservative politicians and citizens. Hanna is being challenged in a primary in New York's 22nd Congressional District, which represents an area from Binghamton to Utica, and westward to Pulaski.

Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, who has tea party support, is hoping to unseat him, saying he's not conservative enough. But Hanna says he's always willing to listen, even if he doesn't always agree.

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6:24am

Wed June 18, 2014
Environment

IJC backs Plan 2014 to control Lake Ontario water levels

Boaters are expected to see longer seasons two out of every three years as part of Plan 2014.
Ray Sawhill/flickr

The International Joint Commission says its recommendations to help restore some of the natural water levels on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence Seaway will also benefit the lake's wetland wildlife. According to the commission, Plan 2014 will help Lake Ontario get closer to its natural ebb and flow throughout the year.

Commissioner Dereth Glance says Plan 2014 strikes a balance between the current plan and the lakes original water levels about 60 years ago.
 

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5:26am

Wed June 18, 2014
Politics and Government

Medical marijuana bill sponsors hold private meeting with Cuomo

Medical marijuana legislation sponsors Sen. Diane Savino and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried talk with reporters.
Karen Dewitt WRVO

Sponsors of a medical marijuana bill continued to negotiate with Gov. Andrew Cuomo over the governor’s objections to many of the measure’s provisions, but say they are hopeful that a deal can be reached in the next couple of days.

State Senate Co-leader Jeff Klein is optimistic about the chances for a medical marijuana law in New York.

“My prediction is we’re going to end this session on a high,” Klein quipped after a lengthy closed-door meeting with Cuomo and the Senate and Assembly sponsors of the bill.

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12:12pm

Tue June 17, 2014
Business

Byrne Dairy's new yogurt plant opens in Cortland County

novemberdelta via Flickr

Byrne Dairy has entered the booming yogurt business in upstate New York as its new yogurt production facility goes online this week in Cortland County.

The central New York dairy icon moves from a milk and ice cream company to one producing both tradition and Greek-style yogurt, as well as sour cream and cheese.

Yogurt, namely Greek yogurt, has been a boon for the dairy industry in upstate New York in recent years, led by Chobani and followed by others.

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7:23am

Tue June 17, 2014
Education

Syracuse school district says they're making progress on student discipline

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

The Syracuse school district says it's already working to improve discipline with the city's public schools as the state attorney general investigates its practices.

The attorney general's offices launched an investigation in December into potentially overly harsh punishment of minority and disabled students in the Syracuse school system,

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7:17am

Tue June 17, 2014
Politics and Government

Cuomo could get a primary challenger

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

Gov. Andrew Cuomo might have a primary challenger. Zephyr Teachout, a Fordham University law professor and activist, announced she’s collecting signatures to be on the September Democratic primary ballot.

Teachout was first promoted by the left-leaning Working Families Party as an alternative candidate to Cuomo, but in the end the minor party dropped her in favor of the governor. Teachout says she volunteered for Cuomo’s 2010 campaign for governor, but has grown disenchanted, and believes that he’s become too concerned with raising money for his political campaign.

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7:13am

Tue June 17, 2014
Agriculture

Dairy industry sees a boom in New York

(file photo)
Matt Richmond WSKG

The New York state dairy industry is in a good place right now, and state officials say they want to keep it that way.

When New York State Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard Ball was a boy, he used to travel the state for his family’s farm business.

"It seemed like there were 60 dairies between Albany and Buffalo. And then there were a handful," Ball said. "And now at the department, we inspect and keep our eyes on close to 400 processing plants, and there are about 40 in the queue right now to get up and running.”

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5:34am

Tue June 17, 2014
Politics and Government

Legislative session could end with a whimper

-JvL- Flickr

The legislative session is scheduled to end on Thursday, and many issues remain unresolved. But a low-key end of session might not matter much to New York’s top political figures.

The chances of passage for several key issues promoted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, including a Women’s Equality Act and public campaign finance appear dim, due to opposition from Senate Republicans.

The end-of-session gridlock grew worse after  Cuomo pledged to the left leaning Working Families Party that he would work to end the GOP’s partial control in the Senate and replace them with Democrats.

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8:25am

Mon June 16, 2014
Agriculture

New York could be key state in GMO labeling debate

Corn is one of the most common genetically modified crops.
Robert S. Donovan Flickr

New York state is shaping up to be a key decider in the debate over labeling foods that contain genetically modified ingredients as a labeling law is becoming one of the final debates of the state legislative session.

A bill requiring foods to be marked as scientifically engineered is under debate in the state Legislature, after being approved by an Assembly committee.

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7:32am

Mon June 16, 2014
Performing Arts and Culture

One year in, Symphoria plans for the future

Symphoria

Symphoria, the successor to the defunct Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, has one year under its belt.  And organizers believe so far, so good.

And as the fledgling orchestra closes the books on its first year, Symphoria managing director Catherine Underhill estimates musicians played to 45,000 people. It has been trying to attract a new audience, with things like its “Spark” series, which creates more social music going experiences. But Underhill says the organization knows they need to keep growing.

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7:26am

Mon June 16, 2014
Education

Miner looks to move teachers union, district forward in talks

A Syracuse Board of Education meeting on Wednesday became heated over the superintendent's performance.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

The head of the Syracuse public school teachers union and the superintendent of the district will sit down this week in hopes of repairing a fractured relationship. 

Mayor Stephanie Miner, a former labor lawyer, will mediate the discussion. 

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7:25am

Mon June 16, 2014
Regional Coverage

New study points to trauma as a contributing factor in homelessness

Milagros Bursey was once homeless and now helps other women who find themselves homeless after experiencing life traumas. Carrie Michel-Wynne, director of housing at the YWCA, looks on as Bursey speaks.
Credit Michelle Faust / WXXI News

The majority of homeless mothers in upstate New York have experienced trauma in their lives -- about half of these show symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

A 12-month study of nearly 300 homeless families in Albany, Buffalo, Syracuse, and Rochester released last week by The Wilson Foundation shows 93 percent of the mothers in the study experienced either physical or sexual abuse in their lifetimes.

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7:23am

Mon June 16, 2014
Education

Gillibrand pushing for more STEM opportunities

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) on a recent visit to Rochester STEM High School
WXXI News

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has recently been touring New York state, outlining her education plan to provide more opportunities to students across the region in the science, technology, engineering and math or STEM fields.

"The bill will help create grant programs for elementary, middle and high schools," said Gillibrand. "Schools are encouraged to partner with their local colleges and non-for-profit businesses to bolster innovated STEM related curriculum and mentorship programs designed to develop the stills that folks need."

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7:02pm

Sun June 15, 2014
Health

The science behind being 'hangry'

avlxyz Flickr

Find yourself impatient and lashing out at people? The solution, according to a recent study, may be in the kitchen.

This week on Take Care, Dr. Brad Bushman talks about the concept of "hangry," or being more angry and aggressive when you're hungry. Bushman, a professor of communications and psychology at Ohio State University, recently conducted a study on the subject that involved 107 couples and found that participants with lower blood glucose levels more frequently showed signs of anger.

Click 'Read More' to hear our interview with Dr. Bushman.

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7:00pm

Sun June 15, 2014
Health

Ensuring a healthy vacation

Nick Kenrick Flickr

As summer approaches and the weather improves, many of us begin to make plans for international travel.  Part of the allure of vacationing in other countries is the opportunity it provides us with to experience other cultures and enjoy the sights and smells of new places.  In order to ensure that you are able to do such things, it is important to take some necessary health precautions both before stepping on the plane and after reaching your destination.

This week on "Take Care," Dr. Phyllis Kozarsky describes the various ways in which we can prevent illness while abroad.  Kozarsky is a professor of medicine at Emory University as well as director of TravelWell, a clinic for international travelers.  She is also a consultant on travelers’ health with the CDC.

Click "Read More" to hear our interview with Dr. Kozarsky.

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4:23pm

Sun June 15, 2014
Politics and Government

David Cobb of 'Move to Amend' on the Campbell Conversations

David Cobb, left, of Move to Amend, speaks with Campbell Conversations host Grant Reeher

One of the fallouts of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision has been the emergence of several groups dedicated to amending the Constitution, in order to reverse the case and limit the role of money in politics.  A leader among them has been the group Move to Amend.  On this week’s edition of the Campbell Conversations, Grant Reeher talks with the group’s national spokesperson, David Cobb.  Cobb was also the Green Party’s presidential candidate in 2004.

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2:18pm

Fri June 13, 2014
Politics

Maffei still concerned over handling of Bergdahl release

Rep. Dan Maffei (D-Syracuse)
Tom Magnarelli/WRVO

Rep. Dan Maffei (D-Syracuse) is still concerned over how the White House handled the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from captivity in Afghanistan, saying some things were done right, but others wrong.

Bergdahl was freed from five years of imprisonment under the Taliban in Afghanistan about two weeks ago. In exchange, five Taliban prisoners in American custody were released. 

Bergdahl returned to the United States early Friday morning to an Army medical center in San Antonio, Texas, after receiving treatment at a military medical facility in Germany. 

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6:56am

Fri June 13, 2014
Regional Coverage

Onondaga County Justice Center opens new infirmary to reduce inmate hospital visits

The Onondaga County Justice Center in Syracuse.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

A new, higher level of medical care is now available at the Onondaga County Justice Center. The new infirmary is located in the downtown Syracuse jail that holds prisoners awaiting trials or transfer to other facilities.

There has always been space for an infirmary in the almost 20-year-old jail, but cost considerations kept Onondaga County from staffing it. Now, the medical organization the county contracts out to can offer the advanced level of training needed for the staff that already works in the jail’s medical unit.

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6:56am

Fri June 13, 2014
Agriculture

Hanna joins lawmakers urging EPA to reconsider navigable waters rule change

Rep. Richard Hanna meets with members of the Oswego County Farm Bureau, local farmers and other agriculture experts.
Gino Geruntino WRVO

Rep. Richard Hanna (R-Barneveld) is one of more than 230 members of Congress speaking out against a proposed change to the Clean Water Act by the Environmental Protection Agency. He says it would mean farmers in New York will face additional red tape and more fines.

Eric Behling's orchard in Mexico has been in business since 1947. Throughout the year his farm grows apples, pumpkins and other produce.

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6:56am

Fri June 13, 2014
Government

Syracuse police union reaches 5-year contract with city

Ken Hawkins Flickr

Syracuse police officers have reached a new labor contract with the city, more than three years after the old one expired.

It's not uncommon for police union contracts to lapse, but this one stretched on for a while, mostly over health care costs and coverage.

The new contract is for five years, but it applies retroactively to when the old one expired at the end of 2010. The 428 Syracuse police officers will have to pay about twice as much for health insurance, but will get two percent raises for 2013, 2014 and 2015.

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6:14am

Fri June 13, 2014
Politics

Doheny, Stefanik debate local and national issues

Elise Stefanik and Matt Doheny during a debate on WWNY.
WWNY-TV

The two candidates vying for the Republican Party's nod in the 21st Congressional District showed a lot of similarities during an hour-long primary debate held Thursday in Watertown. The debate between Matt Doheny and Elise Stefanik was broadcast on WWNY in Watertown and North Country Public Radio and public television.

Both candidates want to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and repair the medical care system for veterans.

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6:01am

Fri June 13, 2014
Health

Creating healthy habits for children

reed_sandridge

Everyone from doctors to educators to first lady Michelle Obama seems to be concerned about the nutrition and physical activity children in this country are getting. A recent WRVO community health forum asked a panel of regional experts about what is being done and what should be done to improve the diet and fitness of the children in central and northern New York.

A startling statistic captures why there is such concern across the country about childhood obesity rates.

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3:19pm

Thu June 12, 2014
Politics

Cuomo says medical marijuana bill isn't dead yet

Brett Levin Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said today that there's still a chance the state legislature could pass a medical marijuana bill that he would sign.

Only five days remain in this year's session, and the governor had previously said that he it was unlikely any major issues would pass by then. But in an interview today with the public radio show "Capitol Pressroom," Cuomo declared that medical marijuana legislation is not dead.

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