News

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.

Inside the ambulance: from dispatch to hospital

Apr 12, 2015
Penn State / Flickr

When you hear those high pitched sirens coming from the road, you know someone somewhere is being transported to a local hospital or urgent care center. There’s a lot of science that goes into those transports to ensure their safety and efficiency.

This week on “Take Care,” Lorraine Rapp and Linda Lowen speak with Scott Matin on how ambulances and their crews operate. Matin is a 25-year veteran of emergency medical services and vice president of clinical, education and business services for MONOC Mobile Health Services in Wall Township, New Jersey.

The New York State budget process was different this year than years past. There was a new “man in the room,” and there were many significant policy proposals attached to it; some were incorporated and some were tabled for later consideration.  On this week’s edition of the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher breaks down that process with State Senator Dave Valesky, who argues that the process was actually better in many ways.  Valesky also comments on his Independent Democratic Conference, its new role in the Senate, and its future prospects. 

Central NY leaders get to work on entry for economic development competition

Apr 10, 2015

It's only been a little over a week since the state legislature approved an upstate economic development competition in the budget, but central New York community leaders are already beginning to try to figure out their entry. At stake is $500 million from the state to help revitalize the economy in the manner of the Buffalo Billion in western New York.

Potential risks of energy drinks underestimated

Apr 10, 2015
Mike Mozart / Flickr

Energy drinks have become increasingly popular in the last 15 years, becoming a staple on college campuses. But are they safe? And how do they impact the health of teens and young adults? This week on Take Care, WRVO's health and wellness show, hosts Lorraine Rapp and Linda Lowen speak with Kathleen Miller, a senior research scientist at the University at Buffalo, who has extensively researched the effects of energy drinks.

Schumer calls for more inspection of railroad bridges

Apr 10, 2015
Alan Kotok / via Flickr

Sen. Charles Schumer says the federal government needs more railroad bridge safety inspectors. The New York Democrat says that while the federal government is responsible for the safety of bridges it owns, many others are owned by private rail companies.

Schumer says while there are 3,000 of those bridges in New York state, there is only one inspector assigned to audit them, in addition to the bridges in 13 other states.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO News

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner is calling on Congress to replenish the highway trust fund, to fix and upgrade the city’s interstates, saying the fund’s stability has implications for the future of Interstate-81.

Whatever the decision on I-81 in Syracuse is, money to rebuild or remove it will come from multiple sources, one those being the federal government. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO file photo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has named former Syracuse Mayor Matthew Driscoll as New York’s next commissioner of the Department of Transportation.

This announcement comes as the DOT is trying to narrow down possible options to replace the aging viaduct portion of Interstate-81 that goes through downtown Syracuse.

The decision over whether to keep the route through downtown or to divert traffic around Syracuse has been controversial.

Current Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner said it's always helpful to know people in positions of authority when decisions like this are being made.

Ithaca gun factory site in decontamination mode

Apr 9, 2015
SAMUEL WHITEHEAD / WSKG

From 1885 to 1986, the Ithaca Gun Company produced shotguns in a hillside factory northeast of downtown Ithaca. The factory’s smokestack still overlooks the city and Ithaca Falls. 

In the years since, the site has been the focus of extensive environmental remediation. Now, stakeholders are approaching the beginning of the end of the cleanup.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The Syracuse VA Medical Center is seeing more than nine in 10 patients in a timely fashion, according to a review of six months of patient appointment records, but an “anomaly” in one area of care shows veterans waiting more than three months to be seen by a doctor.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO file photo

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner has released what she calls a good, strong budget to the Common Council. The spending plan shows a city that’s emerging from years of fiscal uncertainty. 

The $674 million spending plan won’t raise taxes or water or sewer rates. There are no layoffs of city employees; and there’s increased revenue from building permits, parking garages and meters. There is still a $9 million deficit. But that pales in comparison to the numbers the mayor was throwing around a few years ago, when she suggested the city could go broke. 

Ed and Eddie / Flickr

Education reforms were one of the most contentious parts of this year's state budget. But while most of the attention went to negotiations about teacher evaluations and standardized tests, new policies also were put in place for dealing with failing schools. 

Multiple solutions needed to end obesity epidemic

Apr 8, 2015
greggavedon.com / via Flickr

 

Close to 60 percent of New Yorkers are overweight or obese. This week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced he would take steps to fight the obesity epidemic in the state.

New York state ranks second nationwide for medical expenditures related to obesity issues. One researcher says solutions to the problem should include both public health efforts and individualized treatment.

Sasha-Ann Simons / WXXI

Many people with disabilities are limited in their housing options -- not just because of a lack of availability in desirable neighborhoods, but because of outdated standards of accessibility. And that can leave people feeling isolated and segregated.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

A coalition of students, faculty and staff at Syracuse University that held sit-ins and marches on campus last fall continues to organize.   

The group called THE General Body has a list of issues it wants to see addressed. Many are related to the issue that started the movement last fall -- concerns about a loss of support for victims of sexual assault. 

Kulsoom Ijaz, a third-year law school student, says many of the items they are taking to the school’s administration are Title IX issues.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

New York state's acting health commissioner is touring the state this week, advising New Yorkers to get off the couch and get some exercise.

Acting Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker says the tour is grounded in these statistics from the New York State Department of Health: Just over a quarter of New Yorkers are obese and another 36 percent are overweight. The numbers aren't much better for children. Thirty-two percent of public school students between the ages of six and 12 across the state are either overweigh or obese.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Local police and Sen. Charles Schumer are asking the Secret Service to investigate a rash of counterfeit money that has turned up recently.

A handful of local businesses, from Wegman’s to Empire Brewery have been fooled in the past few weeks by fake bills. In all, law enforcement says 10 businesses in central New York have fallen victim to counterfeit currency in the past month. 

Also victim has been Byrne Dairy, where regional manager James Kehoe says each register has a counterfeit detection pen for employees to use, which he demonstrates on a new $100 bill. 

Child abuse numbers are dropping slightly in Onondaga County. But advocates for victims say public awareness is the way to make a real dent in the number of abuse cases.

The McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center in Syracuse has seen a slight decrease the number of children coming through the agency in the last three years -- from 668 in 2012 to 593 last year.  That almost mirrors the drop in abuse hotline calls to Onondaga County – which fell from just over 6,600 in 2-12 to approximately 6,200 last year.

Melinda Shelton / Flickr

The changes to the teacher evaluation system that the New York state legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo enacted received much attention in this year's budget debate. The focus has often been on the role of standardized tests in teacher evaluations. But the way the new reforms will change how the classroom performance portion of the evaluation is conducted is now generating some concern as well. 

Maureen MacGregor / WXXI

Outside Michelle Fridley's apartment building, mounds of snow line the perimeter of the parking lot. At least the curb ramp on her sidewalk is clear today, though that’s not always the case.

"For a week I was having a really hard time being about to leave here. It wasn't even just the snow. It was -- someone parked in my curb cut."

A youth jobs and high school completion program in Syracuse will be able to continue thanks to a grant in this year’s state budget.

Jubilee Homes has previously been able to run its Youth Build and high school equivalency diploma program with federal grants, but Jubilee’s director Walt Dixie says those dollars have been drying up.

Youth Build is a nationwide program that teaches teens construction job skills; but half of the programs across the country have been defunded.

Central New York’s business and economic development agency is starting a new chamber of commerce for minority-run companies.

According to CenterState CEO, the black and Latino communities in New York have $170 billion in buying power. That’s why, it says, it’s forming the Upstate Minority Economic Alliance, the only one in the region.

The news was announced at CenterState’s annual meeting. Edward Cuello will lead the new Upstate MEA. He says its mission will be to harness the minority community’s business and buying power.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News file photo

New York state Sen. Dave Valesky is among those who are calling this year's budget process a difficult one. The central New York senator and member of the Independent Democratic Conference says that's because of the numerous policy proposals that were included in the governor's original budget plan. 

Valesky says it's not surprising that many of the non-spending items were removed -- like the Dream Act, raising the minimum wage and property tax relief. And the senator says that's probably a good thing. 

MTSOFAN / Flickr

An Alzheimer’s Association report released in March shows that most Alzheimer patients aren’t told about their diagnosis.  One central New York expert says that can be harmful.

Dr. Sharon Brangman, director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Assistance Center at Upstate Medical University, wasn’t surprised when she heard that only 45 percent of those with the degenerative brain disease got a diagnosis from their doctor.

NY Assembly Video

The recently completed state budget was the first real test of the new Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie’s leadership, who became the leader of that house in early February. 

By the time the state budget was voted on,  Heastie, the 47-year-old accountant and former budget analyst from the Bronx, elected to the Assembly in 2000, had  been in his new job for less than two months .

New York State Reporting Project

For more than twenty years, the Young Scholars Liberty Partnership Program has taken kids from disadvantaged backgrounds and given them a fighting chance to earn a high school diploma and more. Of the 40 Liberty Partnerships located in the state of New York, Utica is one the largest with about 350 students enrolled a year.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The bike share movement is spreading in Syracuse. Syracuse University now joins SUNY ESF in offering students the chance to borrow a bike for a limited time.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Onondaga County residents can now compost food scraps through the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency, or OCRRA. The first residential food waste was dropped off at the Jamesville compost site earlier this week.

Fifteen percent of all residential trash collected in Onondaga County is made up of food scraps, according to OCRRA.  The agency is hoping to reduce that number with a new residential food scrap drop-off program. 

Pages