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6:06am

Tue June 3, 2014
Regional Coverage

First CNY bourbon product of state's craft distillery initiatives

Oak barrels that Aidrondack Distilling Company stores their bourbon in.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

The bourbon being produced at a Utica distillery is being described as the first legal bourbon produced in central New York. It's proof that the craft liquor industry is growing in New York state.

The Adirondack Distilling Company started out by crafting vodka. Then they moved to gin and, most recently, white whiskey. Now, master distiller Jordan Karp says the company is moving on to that quintessential American drink.

"Bourbon is an American spirit made with at least 51 percent corn, and stored and aged in a charred, new, oak American barrel,” Karp explained.

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5:34am

Tue June 3, 2014
Politics and Government

Democrats hopeful, Republicans dismayed over Cuomo's pledge to shake up state Senate

-JvL- Flickr

Democrats in the New York State Senate say they are taking Gov. Andrew Cuomo at his word to help them regain the majority, despite some indications that he might be walking back some of the promises he made at the Working Family Party’s convention Saturday night.

Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins says she’s holding Cuomo to the promise he made to the Working Families Party, to regain Democratic control of the state Senate.

“He has to,” Stewart-Cousins said.

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10:04am

Mon June 2, 2014
Regional Coverage

Oswego County considers closing four transfer stations

Gino Geruntino WRVO

Some residents of Oswego County may soon have to find other options for getting rid of their garbage if a recent proposal by the Oswego County Legislature is implemented.

Right now the county’s five transfer stations are operating on a $500,000 deficit. Starting July 1, each facility will close one day a week, which according to Oswego County Solid Waste Director Frank Visser will save the county nearly $190,000 a year. Disposal fees are also increasing, which could raise $500,000 in revenue if waste levels don’t change.

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7:08am

Mon June 2, 2014
Politics

Pelosi kicks off bus tour on women's issues in Seneca Falls

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on a stop in Albany during her bus tour on women's issues.
Dave Lucas WAMC

House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi kicked off a multi-state bus tour in upstate New York in an appeal to women to vote for Democrats in November's election.

Pelosi was joined by various New York Democratic Congresswomen and female candidates for the house of representatives. The bus tour started Sunday in Seneca Falls, where Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-Rochester) and the Democrat candidate from the 23rd district in the Finger Lakes area, Martha Robertson, joined the minority leader.

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6:44am

Mon June 2, 2014
Environment

Upstate NY sightings of monarch butterfly in danger

Nature Conservancy of Western and Central New York

Early June is the time of year we should begin seeing  the monarch butterfly fluttering about our flowers and plants in central and western New York. But, scientists are worried that a sharp decline in the population of the iconic insect could cut back local monarch sightings dramatically, or end them all together.

When you think about it, the migration of the monarch butterfly is pretty amazing.

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6:14am

Mon June 2, 2014
Politics

Cuomo happy to gain Working Families Party endorsement

Zack Seward WXXI

Gov. Andrew Cuomo won the endorsement of the state’s left-leaning Working Families Party in a messy convention vote that stretched to nearly midnight on Saturday night.

Some members of the party have been upset because they believe the governor has not been progressive enough and they're unhappy with Cuomo's support for business-friendly tax cuts and charter schools.

Cuomo did not attend the contentious meeting, but he did send a pre-produced video, and some of the party members booed when he later phoned in some comments.

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6:04am

Mon June 2, 2014
Politics and Government

State Senate will determine fate of medical marijuana

Brett Levin Flickr

The fate of a medical marijuana bill remains up in the air in New York state. The state Assembly has approved a version that would allow patients to obtain the drug for medical treatment, while a similar measure remains hung up in the state Senate.

Advocates cheered as the New York State Assembly approved a medical marijuana bill that would  permit patients to possess small amounts of marijuana to treat approved medical conditions. The legislation also sets up licensed dispensaries to grow and sell the drug to sick people.

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7:12pm

Sun June 1, 2014
Health

From Hoffman to high schools, heroin use is on the rise

Wikipedia Commons

Two years ago, the use and abuse of drugs called bath salts seemed to be in the news every day. This year, it’s heroin. The number of heroin deaths is on the rise in a staggering way. But why has this drug that’s been around for more than 100 years experiencing a resurgence now?

Click 'Read More ' to hear our interview with J. David Goodman.

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7:01pm

Sun June 1, 2014
Health

How the sun and you car can create a dangerous situation

Credit WRVO

It’s summertime. It’s hot. Your car has been parked in the blazing sunshine all day. You get in and the seats feel like they’re burning your legs and the steering wheel is untouchable. You may think of it as uncomfortable, an inconvenience. But a car’s interior can reach a temperature high enough to be dangerous.

Click "Read More" to hear our interview with Jan Null.

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8:34am

Sat May 31, 2014
Energy

One farmer weighs pros and cons of wind turbines

Matt Martin/WSKG

Wind turbine company NextEra Energy is considering whether to build a $200 million wind energy project in the town of Catlin in Chemung County. The town board is finalizing the details of a new zoning law that will allow the project to move forward. So local farmers are weighing whether or not to allow the turbines on their property.

It’s a windy day as Dan Teed makes his way up the side of a gravel road. Tall, twirling turbines stand like sentinels on the crest of the hill.

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4:37pm

Fri May 30, 2014
Politics and Government

Veto override means Syracuse will get small property tax increase

A 1.5 percent property tax increase will stand in the City of Syracuse after the Common Council overrode Mayor Stephanie Miner’s budget veto today.

Finance Committee Chairwoman Kathleen Joy says the city can’t continue to cut it’s way out of yearly budget deficits, so lawmakers felt the time was right for this increase.

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7:22am

Fri May 30, 2014
Environment

Doctors request another moratorium on New York hydrofracking

(file photo)
Bosc d'Anjou Flickr

Researchers and medical professionals from around the state gathered in Albany to urge acting Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker to impose a three- to five-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in New York state.

Yuri Gorby, a researcher at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, says the medical community is only just beginning to understand the health impact of hydrofracking, and the moratorium would give New York a chance to make a fully informed decision.

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7:05am

Fri May 30, 2014
Politics and Government

Working Families Party endorsement comes down to the wire

Gov. Andrew Cuomo already accepted the Democratic and Independence Party nominatons earlier this month. (file photo)
Matt Ryan, New York Now

It’s coming down to the wire for a decision on whether the Working Families Party endorses Gov. Andrew Cuomo for reelection or not. Talks are ongoing as the Saturday convention approaches.

The left-leaning minor party was angered when Cuomo failed to win a public campaign financing system for statewide offices in the budget. They were also annoyed by cuts to corporate taxes and wealthy estate owners that the governor championed.

Cuomo has faced opposition from Republicans in the state Senate, who rule in a coalition with a group of break-away Democrats.

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6:58am

Fri May 30, 2014
Politics and Government

Maffei and Hanna join calls for VA secretary's resignation

"Department of Veterans Affairs" by Adam Fagen via Flickr

Central New York’s two congressmen have joined in the calls for the head of the Department of Veterans Affairs to resign.

Pressure on VA Secretary Eric Shinseki is growing over long wait times for patients at VA hospitals. Rep. Dan Maffei (D-Syracuse) and Rep. Richard Hanna (R-Barneveld) have both called for Shinseki to step down as the secretary of Veterans Affairs.

They're part of a growing list of congressmen to do so.

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6:50am

Fri May 30, 2014
Regional Coverage

Drug Court offers offenders rehabilitation instead of jail time

As the use of heroin surges, many people arrested for drug-related crimes are ending up in drug court, one of the so-called "problem solving courts" that have been started in recent years.

Every Thursday afternoon in the Oneida County Courthouse, the Judge John Balzano seems to be equal parts judge, guidance counselor and the leader of a support group.

This is drug court. Balzano dispenses justice here with an emphasis on rehabilitation.

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6:32am

Fri May 30, 2014
Regional Coverage

City of Syracuse short on lifeguards heading into summer season

Syracuse Parks commissioner Baye Muhammad stands next ot the Thorndon Park pool, one of eight in the city.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

The city of Syracuse parks department has a big "help wanted" sign up, because there aren’t enough lifeguards to staff the city’s eight outdoor pools this summer.

The pool at Thorndon Park is filled and ready to go, but a shortage of lifeguards could put parts of the upcoming swim season in peril. Parks commissioner Baye Muhammad says the city still needs to hire 53 lifeguards to open all pools in the city.

And if they don’t find lifeguards?

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5:34am

Fri May 30, 2014
Health

Why heroin use has become an epidemic

Use of the illegal narcotic heroin is on the rise across the nation and in New York state. In the last decade, the number of people hooked on heroin is estimated to have doubled. And it is claiming lives from actor Philip Seymour Hoffman to SUNY Oswego students. This week on WRVO's health and wellness show "Take Care," Hosts Lorraine Rapp and Linda Lowen, speak with The New York Times reporter J. David Goodman, who has reported extensively on the causes and effects of the heroin epidemic.

Lorraine Rapp: Why do you think there is a rise in heroin use? What’s behind that?

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9:59pm

Thu May 29, 2014
Regional Coverage

Disabled ship freed; shipping resumes on St. Lawrence Seaway

The 656-foot Federal Kivalina blocked traffic on the St. Lawrence Seaway for two days after it ran aground.
Robert Fratangelo U.S. Coast Guard Auxillery

The St. Lawrence Seaway is back open to commercial shipping traffic after a section of it was closed for two days because of a disabled vessel.

The 656-foot Federal Kivalina had been blocking traffic through the 'American Narrows' section of the waterway since Tuesday afternoon, when it ran aground near Collins Landing, New York.

Seventeen ships were stalled while the Kivalina sat disabled, according to the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation.

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3:25pm

Thu May 29, 2014
Politics and Government

NOW president promotes Women's Equality Agenda

As the end of the state legislative session in Albany gets closer, one issue that hasn’t made many strides yet, for the second year in a row, is Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed ten-point Women’s Equality Act, meant to end discrimination based on gender.

In a swing across Central New York today, Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, says it’s important that New York is be a leader by passing the agenda that ranges from health care to economic issues, because states are where women’s issues are languishing.

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8:02am

Thu May 29, 2014
Politics and Government

Astorino favors term limits but not public campaign finance

Rob Astorino attends an event in Syracuse. (file photo)
Ellen Abbott WRVO file photo

The GOP candidate for governor, Rob Astorino, tied the issue of lengthy terms in office to the controversy over Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Moreland Act Commission, using it as an example of corruption that can happen after lawmakers spend decades in office. The Moreland Commission, which was investigating potential wrongdoing in the legislature, was closed down as part of a budget agreement in late March.

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7:48am

Thu May 29, 2014
Regional Coverage

Mayor vetoes resolution charging SUNY Oswego for Bridge Street Run overtime

Hundreds of people attend Oswego's Bridge Street Run every year. (file photo)
Cassandra Genua

Oswego Mayor Tom Gillen has vetoed one of the two resolutions passed just days after this year's controversial Bridge Street Run. The Oswego Common Council unanimously passed a measure to bill SUNY Oswego for overtime costs accrued by police, fire and public works department associated with the unsanctioned annual pub crawl.

Nearly 30 people were arrested and two were injured during this year's event. Three students also overdosed on heroin during Bridge Street Run, but police say the event is not to blame.

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7:33am

Thu May 29, 2014
Health

Narcan use evolves as heroin, opioid overdoses increase

ACR Health's Prevention Director Erin Bortel holds a vial of Narcan, which could be used to save someone suffering from a drug overdose. (file photo)
Ellen Abbott WRVO

The recent spike in opioid abuse cases in central New York and across the country has people discussing how to get their hands on Narcan, also known as naloxone, a drug that can be quickly administered in an emergency to reverse the effects of a heroin overdose.

Dr. Jerry Emmons is the medical director for the emergency department at Oswego Hospital. He says Narcan used to be a drug seen only in hospitals, but has made its way into the hands of first responders.

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7:29am

Thu May 29, 2014
Environment

Syracuse University and Harvard release carbon pollution study

The Environmental Protection Agency will be coming out with new proposals to cut down on carbon emissions from power plants next week. Researchers from Harvard and Syracuse University have joined forces to look at how reducing this kind of pollution impacts human health and the environment.

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6:59am

Thu May 29, 2014
Politics and Government

Senate leadership proposes bills to combat heroin epidemic

Wallyg via Flickr

A Republican-led Senate task force has released a package of bills aimed at combating the growing heroin addiction in New York.

The bills would require schools to carry supplies of Naloxone, the drug used to treat heroin overdoses and in many cases, prevent death. They would also require better management of patients treated for drug addiction, and  convert some recently closed state prisons to treatment centers.

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5:24pm

Wed May 28, 2014
Transportation

Traffic on St. Lawrence Seaway blocked by disabled freighter

The freighter Federal Kivalina became disabled Tuesday afternoon and is anchored off of Collins Landing, N.Y. on the St. lawrence Seaway.
U.S. Coast Guard via St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation

A large freighter stuck in a narrow part of the St. Lawrence Seaway since yesterday afternoon is beginning to cause a backup of shipping traffic along the waterway.

The Federal Kivalina lost power yesterday afternoon in the "American Narrows" section of the seaway and ran aground a third of a mile north of the Thousand Islands Bridge, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. The bridge, west of Alexandria Bay, carries Interstate 81 over the St. Lawrence River.

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7:24am

Wed May 28, 2014
Politics and Government

Cuomo critic threatens primary run against Hochul for lieutenant governor

Gov. Andrew Cuomo continues to face a challenge from left-leaning members of his own party, which will play out at the end of the week during the Working Families Party convention. In addition, a progressive Democrat and wealthy businessman who’s been a harsh critic of Cuomo is threatening to try to get on the ballot for lieutenant governor.

Bill Samuels, a passionate oppponent of Cuomo, says he’s seriously thinking about challenging the governor’s hand-picked running mate, former Rep. Kathy Hochul, in a Democratic primary.

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7:13am

Wed May 28, 2014
Health

ACR Health trying to expand nutritional education program

ACR Health Executive Director Michael Crinnin paints a red line down S. Salina Street as part of the outreach effort.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

ACR Health in Syracuse is hoping a successful nutrition program can be expanded to serve others in the community, but right now its nutritional education program currently only has funding to serve clients with HIV/AIDS.

Brian Cowden, 50, has been living with HIV since he was 19. On medication to control the disease, Cowden says he never felt good, complaining of gastrointestinal problems, migraines, sleep issues. But after joining ACR Health’s nutritional program, that all went away.

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7:52pm

Tue May 27, 2014
Health

Syracuse moves to ban smoking in city parks

Dale M Moore Flickr

Syracuse lawmakers are moving to ban smoking in city parks. And that includes some popular downtown hangout spots.

An ordinance brought up by the Common Council’s new health committee would prohibit smoking on any land managed by the Syracuse parks department. That includes around the fountains in Columbus Circle and Clinton Square and Hanover Squares.

The committee is also putting forward a measure to discourage smoking on sidewalks.

Councilor Khalid Bey says the city won’t be able to stop everyone from smoking in parks, "but the effort, I think, is warranted."

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3:45pm

Tue May 27, 2014
Regional Coverage

Syracuse Common Council wants nonprofits to be accountable for city funds

Syracuse common councilors will be asking for more information from not-for-profits that get funds from the city budget.  The city contracts with several agencies to provide various services to city residents every year.

But Councilor Pam Hunter says there needs to be more accountability about what these nonprofits are doing with city funds.

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6:17am

Tue May 27, 2014
Environment

New York lawmakers rally behind efforts to combat climate change

Hurricane Sandy, which caused damage to these homes, is one of several storms that have pounded the state in recent years.
DVIDSHUB Flickr

A new White House climate report paints a dire picture for New York if something drastic isn't done to address climate change, and the Obama administration is preparing to act without Congress.

The Third National Climate Assessment predicts dramatic changes in coastal states like New York. But the state’s junior Democratic senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, says upstate residents and businesses are at risk too.

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