News

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Twenty-five years ago last weekend, the Berlin Wall came crashing down, a key event that led to the end of the Cold War. The anniversary is also shining a light on a piece of the historic wall that ended up in Syracuse, a fact many central New Yorkers aren’t aware of.

Joe Marino

The city of Utica is showing its appreciation to the nation's veterans, not only on Veterans Day, but every day of the year. The city recently unveiled specially designated parking spaces near the disabled parking spots for veterans and their widowed spouses.
 

Fourth Ward Councilman Joe Marino says he came up with the idea while he was talking with his brother-in-law, who had returned from serving overseas a couple years ago. Since then, Marino says the city has rallied behind the plan.

provided photo

Andrew Miller served two tours in Afghanistan with the U.S. Army. He's since returned and is studying writing at Syracuse University. Miller struggled with the praise he received when he finished active duty and has sought ways to sort out the memories

Coming home from war should be a more solemn experience than it often is, he told WRVO recently. It's about more than "blind flag waving and yellow ribbon hysteria," said Miller.

Here's an excerpt from him:

Dave Chanatry / New York Reporting Project at Utica College

On this Veterans’ Day, a reminder that recovery from war is often a long and difficult process. Some veterans have found help in the simple acts of tying a fly and dropping a hook.

This is a story that starts a long way from home.

"Stationed out in the central highlands, this is Vietnam, LZ center..."

"I was on a Medevac helicopter; I was a door gunner..."

"10th Mountain, 187th Infantry, at the beginning of the Afghan war."

Those are the stories of Charlie Chapman, Mike Martin and Dan Young.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

A rooftop garden at the top of the Syracuse Veterans Affairs Medical Center's new spinal injury wing does more than provide a nice view for visitors. It’s the site of a horticulture therapy program that the VA is hoping could spread to other hospitals in the system.

Bruce Nowakowski, 66, of Pennelville, has been in the residential unit of the VA for about a year now. He says he's got a dream.  
 

"Right now I’m trying to work on growing a giant pumpkin,” Nowakoski said.

He knows where he’s going to get the seeds, and expects to plant them in January.

Senate Democrats / Flickr

Before returning  to Washington for the next session of Congress, Sen. Kirsten Gllibrand (D-NY) made a stop yesterday in Utica to talk about cybersecurity.

Gillibrand came to Utica College to tour the Northeast Cyber Forensic Center. She said the region has long been fundamental to the nation’s national security.

"Utica and Rome nearby have been at the heart of our national defense, particularly in areas concerning cyber," Gillibrand explained. "So we almost have a corridor of expertise in this region which is very powerful."

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

New York’s senior senator wants members of the military screened for mental health problems more often in an effort to stem the military’s high suicide rate.

Right now, members of the armed services are screened for mental health problems before and immediately after deployment to combat zones.

"The screenings are better than nothing and they’re an important component in the military’s efforts to lower the suicide rate," Sen. Charles Schumer said. "But it’s not enough, and it fails to address some of the mental health issues in a large group of members."

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

About 10 million bushels of grain come through the Port of Oswego each year, but the port cannot export that grain to other countries by ship because it doesn't have the necessary designation from the USDA.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) says he is going to try to change that. Schumer says he believes the port could qualify for the USDA designation, with some help from SUNY Oswego.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

Oswego city voters overwhelmingly approved a five percent tax cap on Election Day, and some lawmakers say they are on board with the new law, which they hope will bring more accountability and efficiency to the annual budget process.

Republican Fifth Ward Councilor Billy Barlow says he's excited to see the city's new five percent tax cap in place. But it isn't just about the city's taxpayers drawing a metaphorical line in the sand regarding the city's budget.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

The city of Syracuse is ready to jump into a competition for more state funds meant to spark the upstate economy. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is planning to announce a competition based on the model of the Buffalo Billion.

Cuomo, during an political stop in Syracuse last month, said he’ll start talking up the program in his State of the State speech in January.

“We’re going to ask for a billion and a half dollars to bring the Buffalo Billion type program to other cities across upstate New York," Cuomo said.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Now that elections are over, supporters and opponents of hydrofracking are wondering what will be Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s next move on the long-stalled gas drilling process in New York state.

New York has had a de facto moratorium on fracking for several years. Most recently, Cuomo has said he’s awaiting results of an over two-year long health review being conducted by his administration.

During a debate in October, Cuomo said the review would finally be completed by the end of the calendar year.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

From the Habib family’s front door in their Strathmore neighborhood home, they can see Roberts Elementary School. But instead of crossing the street to school on this drizzly fall morning, six-year-old Jackson and his mom, Mary, are standing on the corner waiting for the bus.

While waiting, Mary prods Jackson to shows off the Spanish he’s learning so far in the school he chose to go to, instead of Roberts. He counts to seven, but then admits gym is actually his favorite subject.

How New York state prepares for the worst

Nov 9, 2014
www.cwcs.co.uk / Flickr

When disaster strikes, it generally is a surprise. But whether it's a natural disaster or a human-caused one, government entities can prepare for how to deal with them when they arise.

This week on “Take Care,” Commissioner Jerome Hauer of the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services discusses what New York state has done to prepare for emergencies. 

Can a dog's nose detect ovarian cancer?

Nov 9, 2014
Conrad Olson

Dogs are known for their ability to smell things from a mile away. Now researchers are trying to put that talent to good use, training dogs to detect ovarian cancer in women with just their noses.

This week on “Take Care,” Dr. Cindy Otto discusses how dogs’ sense of smell is leading researchers to catch ovarian cancer. Otto is the founder and executive director of the Penn Vet Working Dog Center at the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Veterinary Medicine.

How is the problem of Latin American immigration and the recent wave of immigrant children seen by two spokespersons for the region?  On this week's episode of the Campbell Conversations host Grant Reeher speaks with Francisco Altschul, El Salvador's Ambassador to the United States, and Julio Ligorria, Guatemala's Ambassador.  Together they encourage American listeners to understand and appreciate the historical context for the current problem, and press for the idea of shared responsibility--for the past, and for addressing the problem in the future.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Upset with what they say is a lack of transparency from university officials, Syracuse University students are vowing to continue a sit-in at the school's administrative building that's been underway since Monday afternoon.

Monday was when a boisterous group of students renewed protests over a closure of a sexual assault victim resource center, reduction in minority scholarships and proposed changes to the university's mission statement. 

Matt Martin / WSKG file photo

When Gov. Andrew Cuomo pitched his idea of opening up to four casinos in New York state, his goal was to create jobs in upstate New York. But a proposed Seneca County casino is ruffling feathers about 70 miles away in Oneida County.

-JvL- / Flickr

All three propositions on the New York state ballot passed Tuesday. Supporters of the measure to change the redistricting process say the vote shows New Yorkers are hungry for reform.

Voters approved a change in the state’s constitution that will require the legislature to appoint a commission to redraw state Senate, Assembly and congressional district lines after the 2020 census.

Dick Dadey, with Citizens Union, a group that supported the amendment, says the 57 percent of voters who said yes shows that the public craves reform of the present system.

Karen Dewitt / WRVO

After Tuesday's election, gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins declared that the Green Party is now the "third party" in New York state politics.

Hawkins, who is from Syracuse, earned about five percent of the vote statewide, but did the best in Tompkins County where he received more than 16 percent of the vote.

Opposition to the natural gas drilling process known as hydrofracking is a big part of the Green Party's platform. Hawkins says in the months to come the party plans to build on the momentum of what he called a big Green vote.

Julia Botero / WRVO

The 116th Assembly District race is still in limbo. On Election Day, Republican John Byrne earned 117 more votes than incumbent Democrat Addie Russell. Who wins may come down to the absentee ballots. Close to 3,000 absentee ballots were sent out. 

Absentee ballots had to be postmarked November 3, the day before Election Day. They have until the 12th to reach St. Lawrence and Jefferson Counties. Ballot counting will start on November 17, the deadline for all military ballots.

Preparing for disaster

Nov 7, 2014
Gino Geruntino / WRVO

First September 11, then hurricanes, flooding and superstorms -- New York state has had to deal with its fair share of disasters, both natural and manmade. But what has the state learned from these events to help us deal with future catastrophes? This week on WRVO's health and wellness show "Take Care," hosts Lorraine Rapp and Linda Lowen speak with Commissioner Jerome Hauer of the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services about what has been done to prepare for the next big crisis.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, won another four years in office, but the Republicans recaptured the state Senate. That could lead to Washington-style gridlock on a number of issues that Cuomo pushed for during the campaign.

Cuomo, under pressure from the left of his party, pressed for a progressive agenda in the final weeks of his campaign, including an abortion rights provision in a women’s equality package, further increases in the state’s minimum wage and public financing of political campaigns. On election night, Cuomo promised he would deliver on those items.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

It became clear early on election night that Dan Maffei was going to lose his re-election effort to Congress, but the scope of the loss left many surprised.

“Stunning” is a word more than one political analyst used Wednesday morning to describe Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei’s nearly 20 point loss to Republican John Katko. Not in that he lost, but by how much.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

How does a political newcomer take on a two-term congressman and win a seat in Congress? That’s what happened in central New York this week, as Republican John Katko defeated Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei by 20 points.

Katko analyzed his winning campaign during a wide-ranging discussion with reporters yesterday.

Phil Roeder / via Flickr

Political polls were a crucial way of predicting the outcome of Tuesday’s elections. Polls in central New York's seat for Congress saw an 18 point swing in the campaign's final weeks. But how political polling is conducted – over the telephone – faces an uncertain future.

Pollsters have long used landline telephones to reach into people’s homes and ask them about issues and candidates. It’s far from an exact science, but it’s been the best we’ve got.

But the problem nowadays is that most people under the age of 35 don’t have landline telephones in their home.

-JvL- / Flickr

The New York state Senate got swept up in this year's Republican election wave, with 33 districts in their corner after the votes were counted.

The dean of central New York’s Senate delegation, state Sen. John DeFrancisco, said that’s good news.

On the flip side, it means difficulty for central New York's Democratic Assembly members to push through key agenda items, and reduces the influence of Sen. Dave Valesky, who DeFrancisco shares representation of Syracuse with.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

For the first time in 20 years, Onondaga County has a new sheriff in town.  Republican Gene Conway beat Democrat challenger Toby Shelley on Election Day, pulling in 53 percent of the vote.  He says he has ideas about new initiatives in the department.

“Obviously I have in my mind things that I think could work better. Some of those are based on my career as police chief in the town of Dewitt.  I’ll be certainly looking for suggestions from the rank and file,” said Conway.

Solvejg Wastvedt / WSKG News

Incumbent Rep. Tom Reed heads back to Washington after a win against Democrat Martha Robertson in New York’s 23rd Congressional District.

The newly reelected congressman wiped away a few tears as he greeted supporters in Corning on Tuesday. Reed returns to the House after what turned out to be a comfortable victory over Democrat Martha Robertson.

David Sommerstein / NCPR

Republican Elise Stefanik cruised to an easy victory to become the North Country’s next Congresswoman. She defeated Democrat Aaron Woolf 53-32 percent, with the Green Party candidate winning 11 percent of the vote.

At his campaign headquarters near his home in Elizabethtown Tuesday night, Woolf acknowledged some rough patches in his campaign.

Republicans pigeon-holed filmmaker Aaron Woolf from the beginning as a “Manhattan Millionaire,” a carpetbagger. But people at this folksy, Adirondack bar near his home don’t see that Aaron Woolf at all.

Brian Mann / NCPR

It was a triumphant night for Republican Elise Stefanik, the 30-year-old Republican who moved last year to Willsboro in Essex County.

She’ll go to Washington DC as the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. She built a juggernaut campaign, promising bipartisanship and new ideas.

She's where all of us were when we were thirty years old. She sees the way it could be, the way it ought to be

A Handy win in a strong GOP year

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