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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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6:01am

Tue May 27, 2014
Politics and Government

Election year politics a factor in legislative session's final weeks

Zack Seward WXXI

Now that the major political party conventions are over, state officials are shifting their focus back to the remaining issues in the legislative session, which ends in four weeks. But politics are still front and center in the session's waning days.

The spotlight will continue to be on Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the final weeks of the session, and whether he achieves the three major items he laid out in his acceptance speech to delegates at the party convention.

“We must pass a Women’s Equality Act, public finance, and a Dream Act,” Cuomo told a cheering crowd. “And we will!”

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5:37am

Tue May 27, 2014
Health

Syracuse hospitals invest in electronic medical records systems

SUNY Upstate Medical University
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Electronic medical records are becoming the norm at Syracuse-area hospitals. St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center and SUNY Upstate Medical University each took milestone steps this month into the digital world.

Hospital staff and patients at the Golisano Children’s Hospital have been using a computerized software system to track medical records since March. With Upstate’s Community Campus coming on board earlier this month, the teaching hospital in Syracuse now has fully implemented an electronic medical records system in all phases of care, according to hospital CEO John McCabe.

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9:41am

Mon May 26, 2014
Regional Coverage

Learning center teaches English to students from 20 countries

Students on break at the North Side Learning Center
Tom Magnarelli/WRVO

The Syracuse Landmark Preservation Board approved the removal of six wooden and concrete crosses on the outside of Holy Trinity Church which is being renovated into a mosque. But the controversy overshadowed the mission of the North Side Learning Center, which bought the Syracuse property.

"Salam alaikum everyone! Oh, the classroom is getting packed now!”exclaimed Abdulilah Al-Dubai, one of the founders of the North Side Learning Center. The center has eight classes that teach English to 150 students, who range from age four to 80 and come from more than 20 countries.

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6:46am

Mon May 26, 2014
Education

Why Common Core? The controversy over standardized tests

CUPROF

A major part of Common Core learning standards is a standardized testing system. A system that many have taken issue with.

“I’m all for setting the bar high, but you are setting the bar so high that you are going to defeat a group of people and they’re going to drop out of school,” said parent Lisa Arnone. “As a middle school teacher I already hear them talking. They say ‘they’ll never pass those tests and they’re done.’ And that will be a shame that they will be defeated by these tests.”

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5:42am

Mon May 26, 2014
Politics

Cuomo quietly accepts Independence Party endorsement

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has quietly accepted the endorsement of the state’s Independence Party, after the party met with no public notice in Albany on Friday morning.

The Democrat governor did not attend the brief Independence Party meeting in Albany, but speaking in Buffalo later, acknowledged the endorsement.

“I’ve accepted the endorsement and I’ll be running on their line,” Cuomo said. “I’m pleased with their endorsement.”

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5:38am

Mon May 26, 2014
Regional Coverage

Vietnam War veteran honored, 45 years later

Retired Army Sgt. Lauren Dates with the medals he earned during his service in Vietnam.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

A Vietnam War veteran from central New York finally has the combat medals he earned 45 years ago.

It was November 11, 1968 when Lauren Dates earned a dozen combat medals as an Army sergeant. He would have been fine if those awards, including a Purple Heart and bronze star, had showed up at his Cayuga County home in the mail. His wife thought otherwise.

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5:25pm

Sun May 25, 2014
Politics and Government

John Katko on The Campbell Conversations

John Katko, left, republican candidate for New York's 24th Congressional district seat, speaks with Campbell Conversations host Grant Reeher

In one of his first extended public interviews, John Katko talks with Grant Reeher on the Campbell Conversations.  Katko is the former federal prosecutor challenging Dan Maffei for the 24th Congressional district seat this fall.  In a wide-ranging discussion, Katko addresses whether he’s a moderate or a conservative, how he thinks about entitlements and taxes, Obamacare, and the level of dysfunction in the current Congress.  He also discusses the role of money in the campaign.

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2:53pm

Fri May 23, 2014
Regional Coverage

Novelis announces five year plan for company growth

Novelis says it has a five year plan in place to help the company continue to grow in Oswego County.
Gino Geruntino WRVO

A rising demand for automotive aluminum to meet federal fuel mileage standards is helping Novelis in Oswego plan for the next five years, including spending millions of dollars on infrastructure and building projects and creating up to 250 new jobs.

Plant Manager Chris Smith says this is the first time in the plant's 51 year history that it has been able to provide employees with an extended plan. He says it's because the company's recent automotive contracts are longer than the majority of Novelis' prior business agreements... which lasted between one and two years.

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8:18am

Fri May 23, 2014
Energy

Hydrofracking debate follows Obama to Cooperstown

President Barack Obama’s visit to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown was closed to the public, but that didn’t stop protesters from both sides of the hydrofracking debate from heading there anyway.
    
The president was there to talk about upstate tourism, but for many of the other day visitors the economic issue was hydrofracking in the state’s Marcellus shale region.

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7:59am

Fri May 23, 2014
Regional Coverage

Utica's Union Station honors 100 years of service

Decorated tables for a dance fill the main concourse of Utica's Union Station.
Gino Geruntino WRVO

Utica's Union Station has been a mainstay in the city's historic Bagg's Square neighborhood since 1914. In that time, the train station went from a bustling transit hub, to nearly being demolished in the 1970s, to a recent resurgence as a public gathering place. This weekend, Utica is celebrating the station's 100th anniversary and some of the things that make it unique.

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7:22am

Fri May 23, 2014
Politics and Government

Cuomo, Hochul accept nominations

Supporters hold signs for Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his new running mate, former Rep. Kathy Hochul.
Matt Ryan, New York Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo was nominated to run for a second term, along with his freshly chosen running mate, former western New York Congresswoman Kathy Hochul.

Cuomo was nominated by a diverse group ranging from former President Bill Clinton, Harry Belafonte and union leaders via video, and ending with an endorsement by his daughters.

Cuomo, speaking to a packed and excited hall of delegates, recounted his accomplishments, including passing same sex marriage, rebuilding the Tappan Zee Bridge, and capping property taxes.

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7:13am

Fri May 23, 2014
Health

Gebbie Clinic at Syracuse University celebrates 40 years of changing lives

Ellen Abbott WRVO

For the last 40 years, the Gebbie Speech, Language Hearing Clinic at Syracuse University has been making a difference in the lives of people with speech and hearing problems across central New York. This weekend, the clinic will celebrate its 40th anniversary with the grand opening of new facilities, while showcasing the work they’ve done.

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8:10pm

Thu May 22, 2014
Obama in Cooperstown

Obama swings for tourism increase at baseball hall of fame

President Obama speaks about tourism at the baseball hall of fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. Thursday.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

President Barack Obama wants to make it easier for foreigners to visit the United States so they can come and spend more money at tourist sites. The president visited the baseball hall of fame in Cooperstown Thursday, where he pitched tourism as an economic asset.

Cooperstown Bats is a store that has a symbiotic relationship with the National Baseball Hall of Fame across the street. Thursday morning, a high school baseball team was in town for a game at the hall’s Doubleday Field, but the players bought some souvenir bats first.

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