News

Karen Dewitt / WRVO News

The head of the state’s largest teachers union predicts that the legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo will have to revisit new teacher evaluation laws passed as part of the state budget, now that almost one fifth of students have opted out of the tests.

New York State United Teacher’s President Karen Magee says the boycott of the third through eighth grade English tests by nearly 20 percent of New York’s students will undermine the new teacher evaluation system that relies more heavily on the controversial standardized tests.  

Julia Botero / WRVO News

All units at Fort Drum will likely deploy overseas within the next 13 months. That’s according to the military base’s new commanding general, Maj. Gen. Jeffery Bannister. He sat down with local reporters last week to address what’s in store for soldiers stationed at Fort Drum. 

Bannister said the changing nature of the U.S. presence in Iraq and Afghanistan is changing  the way troops are deployed  at Fort Drum.  They will still go to those countries but they will also go to other strategic locations around the world.  

Karen Dewitt / WRVO News

The New York state legislature returns for the second half of the legislative session, once again under a cloud of corruption, and with numerous unsettled issues.

The session begins Tuesday, after the spring break, and this time it’s the leader of the Senate who is the focus of a federal corruption probe. State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos confirmed that he’s the target of an investigation, after The New York Times reported that U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has convened a grand jury that is looking into some of the senator’s business dealings, as well as those of his son.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO News

Law enforcement and elected officials have again found themselves trying to keep ahead of an outbreak of synthetic drugs in central New York.

Local legislative action and federal law enforcement raids of area head shops three years ago quelled a rash of overdoses in upstate New York on synthetic drugs, often called bath salts.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

There have been recent calls for the suspension of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Start-Up NY economic development program.  Those that do follow first-year statistics that show millions spent on promoting a program that’s created just over six dozen jobs.

According to the Start-up NY yearly report released earlier this month, $53 million was spent on marketing and advertising for the program. Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul says to look further than just those numbers.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO News file photo

The state attorney general is hoping some new provisions to his bill to cut down on the number of foreclosure properties in upstate cities will help it become law.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman first started going after what he calls “zombie properties” last year. The clever name for homes that sit boarded up in the foreclosure process for long periods of time helped gain buzz, but the bill to put more responsibility on banks to take care of the properties they seize, didn’t go anywhere.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

There’s been a spike in the number of people heading to emergency rooms in Central New York, for treatment after using synthetic marijuana.     

Christine Stork, clinical director of the Upstate New York Poison Center, knew there was a problem when she came to work last week.

commonwealthfund.org

Five years after its passage, Obamacare still generates heated political arguments, and is exhibit A of the political polarization in Washington.  As the presidential election cycle begins to gear up, we will no doubt re-debate the law.  Just how successful has it been?  Is it achieving its objectives?  As a policy change, what have been its greatest challenges?  

frankieleon / Flickr

Dealing with a major medical crisis in your life is stressful enough. But suppose something goes wrong, and the outcome isn't what you had expected? When does a patient move from being merely disgruntled and dissatisfied to seriously considering a lawsuit?

This week on “Take Care,” Chris Stern Hyman discusses medical malpractice and its principles. Hyman is a healthcare attorney, former litigator and founder of Medical Mediation Group in New York City.

The myths of detox diets

Apr 19, 2015
Marilyn M / Flickr

Can mixing cayenne pepper, lemon juice, syrup and water help flush out toxins from your body? Can detoxing help weight loss?

This week on “Take Care,” Susan Moores discusses the negative effects detox diets have on the body. Moores is a registered dietician and former national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Great Lakes Cruise Company

A luxury cruise ship on its maiden voyage up the St. Lawrence River from Montreal to Chicago will stop in Clayton this May. It will be the first visit there for the MS Saint Laurent. The ship’s new route will bring it to the Thousand Islands village almost a dozen times this summer, each time with as many as 200 people aboard.

Medical malpractice is a difficult issue for both patients and doctors. The frequency -- and threat -- of lawsuits have changed the way medicine is practiced, to some degree. This week on “Take Care,” WRVO’s health and wellness show, hosts Lorraine Rapp and Linda Lowen speak with health care attorney Chris Stern Hyman of the Medical Mediation Group in New York City. Hyman discusses how frequent medical errors occur and how the healthcare industry has responded.

Lorraine Rapp: What is the legal definition of medical malpractice?

JECO photo / via Flickr

College graduation season is nearing and along with finding a job, student debt is also on grad’s minds. One program New York is hoping will help and keep those grads in the state.

Upstate New York is known for its idyllic college campuses, but its towns and cities struggle to keep those young people around once they graduate, as they’re drawn away by jobs and more trendy cities.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Syracuse-area National Guard Reserves are preparing for the worst this week.  Troops are in New Jersey, taking part in drills that mimic manmade and natural disasters.

The full-scale disaster exercise means 180 soldiers with the National Guard’s 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team in Syracuse boarded a military convoy Thursday to head south to take part in the exercises. They joined guard members from across New York and New Jersey.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

There continues to be a shortage of organ donors in New York State and central New York. The donor council at Upstate University Hospital is urging the community to learn about the issue, and join the organ donation registry.

Ken Teegardin / Flickr

Sen. Charles Schumer used this year's tax deadline to call for more help for the victims of tax refund fraud, which he said is the most common form of identity fraud.

The New York Democrat told reporters Wednesday that he is pushing legislation that would create a new resource at the Internal Revenue Service for the victims of refund fraud, which he says affected 70,000 New Yorkers and 2.3 million Americans last year.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

With some successes but little political momentum, organized labor and low wage workers are continuing to call for a $15 minimum wage. 

Brittany Buffman once earned minimum wage in a job at the dining halls of Syracuse University. She says union efforts to pump pay the college allowed her and her husband to buy a house and raise a family.

This week, a bipartisan team of New York state senators announced a round of four hearings around the state addressing the heroin epidemic.  The state poison control center received 255 calls about toxic exposures to heroin throughout upstate New York state last year. 82 of those toxic exposures were from Onondaga County.

State senators are turning to police, doctors, and their constituents for proposed solutions to the increase in deaths from opioid overdoses.

The quiet councilor: Chad Ryan's style in city hall

Apr 15, 2015
Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Syracuse city councilor Chad Ryan has served in the chamber for a fraction of the time as some of peers but he’s also asked a fraction of the questions, in public at least.

Councilor Chad Ryan sits at the end of the table during council study sessions or committee meetings, he’ll often wave off his chance to ask a question. It’s not shyness, he says in an interview, but maybe a little humility.

"I guess I wouldn’t say I’m shy," he said. "Certainly tentative about what you say in the chambers."

Jake Gamage / WRVO

There were nearly 50 accidents involving Syracuse public works vehicles this past winter, mostly for minor mishaps.

Despite the difficult weather conditions for much of this winter, the number of accidents for public works crews in the city of Syracuse declined from the winter before.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Toxic chemicals lurk in some of the popular children’s toys purchased in stores in Onondaga County, according to a report released this week by the group Clean and Healthy New York. The group hopes the study will force New York state lawmakers to keep hazards like this out of the state.

Bobbi Chase Wilding, deputy director for Clean and Healthy New York, points an X-Ray Floresance Analyzer at a children’s xylophone, purchased at a local dollar store.  

Michael / via Flickr

Syracuse residents say the way the city is proposing to update billing for ornamental street lights goes way beyond just nickel and diming taxpayers.

After decades of not collecting fees or updating billing on more than a hundred special lighting districts, Syracuse is trying to update its regulation of ornamental street lights, but it means bills for thousands of city resident could skyrocket.

Solvejg Wastvedt/WSKG News

On the Ithaca College campus, Kyle James has a pretty sweet office. James is vice president of the college's Student Government Association. His view overlooks the quad, where he can see students crossing back and forth between classes. James says lately, there have been some disruptions to life on campus.

“This actually started in 2011 with an exploratory committee about bias on the Ithaca College campus,” he says. “From that they found that microaggressions were a big problem.”

Ellen Abbott

Bicycle commuters in Syracuse are hoping that the next roadway that’s revamped with bike infrastructure is Euclid Avenue.

Courtesy Andy Daddio / Colgate University

Hours after Hillary Clinton formally announced her campaign for president Sunday, several New York officials and fellow Democrats quickly threw their support behind the former Secretary of State, who also served as U.S. senator from New York from 2001-2009. 

Hamilton College lock down ended

Apr 13, 2015
belsondesign.com

Updated, 5:57 p.m.

After conducting a thorough sweep with bomb-sniffing dogs, the New York State Police recommended that Hamilton College fully lift its shelter-in-place order.

Updated, 5:35 p.m.

College officials say canine units are still searching building on the South Campus, which remains locked down. The shelter-in-place order has been lifted for North Campus.

Updated, 3:25 p.m.:

Central New York will need to innovate and come up with new ideas about how to address the needs of its senior population. That was the message of a forum held to discuss how to shape an age-friendly region.

Michael / via Flickr

The ornate metal street lamps that line downtown or some Syracuse city streets aren’t free to keep on. Property owners are supposed to pay the electric bill, but for decades the city has been. Now, city hall wants to change that.

Business districts and neighborhoods in Syracuse that have upgraded or ornamental street lights are in what the city calls "special lighting districts." Problem is, many of them were put in place decades ago and the city either hasn’t been fully collecting those fees, or hasn’t increased them in decades either.

timlewisnm / Flickr

The move to refuse the state standardized tests scheduled for later this week is getting more vocal, as test dates approach for children in third through eighth grades. Teachers unions, and some parent organizations are organizing opt out sessions and email blasts meant to let families know how to refuse the tests that start Tuesday. For one Central New York family, keeping their children from taking the test sends a message to Albany about a complicated issue they say, goes deeper than using tests to measure teachers performance. 

Why energy drinks aren't your average cup of joe

Apr 12, 2015
Tambako the Jaguar / Flickr

Caffeine gets many people through the day. An increasingly popular form of caffeine comes in energy drinks, but when consumed in large doses, it can pack quite a punch – sometimes a dangerous one. How do you know if you have consumed too much caffeine? When is it time to stop?

This week on “Take Care,” Dr. Kathleen Miller discusses the dangers of energy drinks and their effects on the body. Miller is a senior research scientist and assistant professor in sociology at the University at Buffalo.

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