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8:32am

Wed February 19, 2014
Regional Coverage

Maffei hosts rural broadband symposium promoting high-speed Internet access

Doc Searls Flickr

Rural broadband experts, elected officials and school representatives were in Red Creek Tuesday evening as part of a broadband symposium hosted by Syracuse-area Congressman Dan Maffei.

Maffei, who has been a supporter of using technology to boost the impact of healthcare and education in the region, says by increasing access to high-speed Internet, it allows for a stronger middle class and could be critical to strengthening the upstate economy and promoting educational opportunities.

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8:19am

Wed February 19, 2014
Energy

Potential flood risk causes citation at upstate nuclear plant

United States Government Work

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has issued a citation to the owners of the Ginna nuclear power plant in upstate New York. Preliminary inspection findings released Tuesday cited the plant for failure to address a long-standing flood risk. The issue is considered a low-to-moderate level safety concern.

It all comes down to an improperly sealed manhole at the plant, which could have allowed flood waters to breach the rooms housing emergency batteries.

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8:03am

Wed February 19, 2014
Environment

More fracking pro and con as the battle rages on

Capital District Against Fracking

The future of hydraulic fracturing in New York has been in limbo since the Department of Environmental Conservation began a review of the practice in 2008. Now, six public hearings are being held across New York to receive public comment on the draft State Energy Plan, with one of them in Albany.  Environmental groups were at the Capitol Tuesday calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to put renewable energy ahead of fossil fuels in his effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.

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7:20am

Wed February 19, 2014
Regional Coverage

Water mains and transportation focus of infrastructure forum

Greg Lancette of the Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 267 union speaks with Rep. Dan Maffei (D-Syracuse) at an infrastructure forum Tuesday.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Central New York's underground infrastructure - namely, water mains - was a big focus of a discussion about the region's infrastructure hosted by Rep. Dan Maffei Tuesday.

Maffei, a Democrat from Syracuse, gathered elected officials, engineers and administrators at the Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse to discuss infrastructure. One main message was that upgrades and maintenance of the region's plumbing and water pipes has been an often ignored or delayed investment.

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2:25pm

Tue February 18, 2014
Education

Syracuse school district requests more state aid

Jon Lim Flickr

As the Syracuse City School District goes into its budget process, it’s looking at a $24 million spending gap, a revenue problem stemming from years of stagnant state aid in the face of rising educational costs.

The District’s Chief Financial Officer, Suzanne Slack, decided to name this year’s budget report after a weather event. She saw a news story about frigid temperatures this winter caused by the Polar Vortex.

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8:16am

Tue February 18, 2014
Agriculture

New Farm Bill makes transition to organic dairy farming easier

publicenergy Flickr

For farmers in upstate New York, going organic isn’t easy. But one farmer who’s made the switch is happy that the new Farm Bill will make it easier to transition from traditional to organic farming in the future.

Ben Simons has been a dairy farmer in Remsen for two decades. Two years ago, he decided to convert his operation over to an organic dairy.

"Because I did not want to expand my dairy anymore," Simons says. "It was very difficult to stay a small family farm and compete with conventional milk.”

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7:44am

Tue February 18, 2014
Regional Coverage

DEC proposal to kill invasive swans drawing protests

A mute swan.
Credit DEC website

Most people think swans are beautiful. But the agreement seems to end there, when it comes to a new state plan to manage them. A proposal by the Department of Environmental Conservation to kill invasive mute swans isn’t flying with some animal lovers. 

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7:36am

Tue February 18, 2014
Regional Coverage

Changes coming to make West Street more pedestrian friendly

West Street in Syracuse is six lanes wide in some parts and difficult to cross on foot.
dougtone via Flickr

Changes are coming to Syracuse’s West Street artery to make the roadway more pedestrian friendly and less of a barrier for the Near Westside neighborhood.

West Street was built in the middle of the last century, as Interstate 81 was paving through the city, as a way to move cars more easily. It’s six lanes wide and not pedestrian friendly, but many west side residents have to cross the street to get downtown or to the grocery store.

The Near Westside Initiative, a community advocacy group has been working with the state transportation department on a redesign.

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4:53pm

Mon February 17, 2014
Environment

New York landowners file lawsuit against Cuomo over fracking delay

A fracking rally in Albany at the Capitol.
eranderson428 Flickr

Two weeks ago, the landowners coalition sent a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo demanding the release of the environmental impact study on hydrofracking, known as the SGEIS . The deadline was Thursday, February 13 and Scott Kurkoski, a lawyer for the coalition, filed the promised lawsuit the following day.

“Is he in favor of this or not? Because the rest of the nation is moving forward in a way that is providing energy independence," Kurkoski said. "Is New York a threat to that process?”

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4:35pm

Mon February 17, 2014
Science

Meteorology professors, students track weather patterns

Jake Mulholland OWLeS

While most of those living along the eastern shore of Lake Ontario and the Tug Hill Plateau have been cursing this winter and its seemingly constant snowfall, a group of researchers from 11 colleges, including SUNY Oswego, couldn't have been happier with the situation.

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8:09am

Mon February 17, 2014
Politics and Government

As hearings conclude, lawmakers set to take on budget

The state legislature has finished its hearings on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget proposal, and will be ready to start crafting a spending plan once they return from the President’s Day break. One of the final hearings focused on the governor’s tax cutting plans, and lawmakers had plenty of questions.

Legislators at the hearing quizzed Cuomo’s tax commissioner on a plan that could result in a freeze of local property taxes. Tax Commissioner Thomas Mattox admits it’s a complex plan.

“This is clearly a very complicated space,” Mattox said.

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6:54am

Mon February 17, 2014
Transportation

Three upstate New York highways make 'futureless freeways' list

Interstate 81 is elevated for 1.4 miles through downtown Syracuse and is beginning to crumble.
oliver_hine via Flickr

Three big roadways in upstate New York cities have made a top 10 list of freeways that should be torn down or filled in.

The Congress for New Urbanism says Syracuse’s Interstate 81, Rochester’s Inner Loop and Buffalo’s Skyway bridge are all roadways that do damage to the community and should be replaced. They’re also on the "Freeways Without a Future" list because there’s growing momentum to remove them.

The Chicago-based group advocates for more walkable cities and smart growth.

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6:50am

Mon February 17, 2014
Politics and Government

New York Conference of Mayors has one focus

NYCOM President and Minoa mayor Dick Donovan addresses the New York Conference of Mayors in Albany.
Credit Jenna Flanagan / Innovation Trail

Mayors from across the state have a bone to pick with the Cuomo administration. It is the governor’s proposal for a two percent tax freeze over two years. It would reward communities with property tax rebates if local governments implement austerity measures to keep their growth under the cap.

It sounds great on the surface, but according to the New York Conference of Mayors in Albany recently, looks can be deceiving.

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6:45am

Mon February 17, 2014
Regional Coverage

National pressures hit Carthage Area Hospital with 73 layoffs

Carthage Area Hospital says the same pressures that are facing all hospitals these days forced it to restructure.
Credit Joanna Richards

Hospitals around the country are all under the same pressures: a turn toward outpatient and preventive care, low Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates, and increasing regulations. It’s the same in Carthage. 

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7:01pm

Sun February 16, 2014
Health

Cholesterol: The good, the bad, and the...wine?

wellcome images flickr

Cholesterol. It’s something we need, but becomes a problem when there’s too much of it. It’s a buzzword often thrown around in advertisements for both food and medication, and something people watch out for in their diets. But what is cholesterol, and why can it be a problem?

This week on Take Care, Dr. Robert S. Rosenson answers these questions and more. Dr. Rosenson is a professor of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and is also director of cardio-metabolic disorders at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

Click 'Read More' to hear our interview with Dr. Rosenson.

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7:00pm

Sun February 16, 2014
Health

Allergy drops could mean looking forward to spring again

Nomadic Lass Flickr

If you've ever used the phrase "a shot in the arm" to describe something as invigorating, you're probably not an allergy sufferer who's had to endure ongoing injections to control symptoms. Shots are not only painful but often inconvenient to schedule into a busy life. Yet that's been the standard course of treatment for many allergy patients for the past hundred years. Recent developments, however, may make shots obsolete for those who suffer from hay fever.

This week on Take Care, Dr. Linda Cox, talks about the new development of allergy drops. Cox is the president of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, and an allergist and immunologist from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Click 'Read More' to hear our interview with Dr. Cox.

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4:47pm

Sun February 16, 2014
Health

Dr. Sharon Brangman on The Campbell Conversations

Dr. Sharon Brangman

The American population is rapidly aging, and this has enormous implications for our health care system.  Among other challenges, there are fewer workers contributing to Medicare and Medicaid, relative to the population using those programs.  On this week’s edition of the Campbell Conversations, Grant Reeher talks with Geriatric specialist Dr. Sharon Brangman about the trends in aging, the special health care needs of the elderly, and the ways that our medical system does, and does not, respond to them. 

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3:00pm

Fri February 14, 2014
Regional Coverage

SUNY Canton, Potsdam vice president indicted on theft charges

Natalie Higley, vice president for Business Affairs and Administration at both SUNY Canton and SUNY Potsdam.

The woman in charge of finances at both SUNY Canton and SUNY Potsdam has been indicted on theft charges in Georgia. Natalie Higley is charged with stealing from the state college where she used to work.

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2:40pm

Fri February 14, 2014
Religion

Religious leaders spend week eating on $4 a day

A week's worth of food for $29.40
Ellen Abbott, WRVO

The food budget for individuals receiving federal food stamps, now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), comes down to $29.40 a week, $4.20 a day. Members of the Religious Roundtable of Interfaith Works of Central New York are in the midst of a one-week SNAP challenge, only eating what that amount of money will buy.  

Temple Concord Rabbi Daniel Fellman says this kind of budget limits people to a carbohydrate-heavy, highly processed diet.

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8:15am

Fri February 14, 2014
Regional Coverage

School closings and delays for Friday

Jason Kuffer Flickr

Heavy snowfall and blowing winds have forced several schools to delay or close. This post will be updated regularly.

Adirondack Central: 2 hour delay; no a.m. pre-K, no a.m. BOCES

Auburn City Schools: 1 hour delay

Augustinian Academy: 2 hour delay; no a.m. pre-K

A-P-W Central: 2 hour delay

Baldwinsville Christian Academy: Closed

Beaver River Central: 2 hour delay

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7:58am

Fri February 14, 2014
Business

On-the-job injuries higher for public sector

Some rights reserved by tehusagent

New data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows New York state and local government employees experienced a much higher rate of injury and illness than workers in any other industry during 2012.

It may not be something you’ve ever considered, but a lot of the time, there’s an inherent risk associated with jobs in the public sector.

And, according to Nellie Brown, director of the workplace health and safety program at Cornell University, that has a big impact on statistics like these.

The BLS report states:

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6:57am

Fri February 14, 2014
Agriculture

Hanna says Farm Bill gets a lot right, but doesn't address everything

Rep. Hanna tours Hood Dairy in Oneida
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Rep. Richard Hanna and central New York farmers celebrated the passage of the Farm Bill, with a tour of a Madison County Dairy producer Thursday.  

At the Hood Dairy in Oneida, Hanna ticked off the things in the Farm Bill that will help upstate New York farmers: the five-year bill provides stability for farmers; it transitions farmers to a more modern dairy support program; it expands crop insurance, offers more support for organic farming, and help to young farmers who want to get in the business.

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6:48am

Fri February 14, 2014
Health

ACA deadlines, penalties approaching

There are less than two months left for people to sign on to a health insurance plan and avoid tax penalties for not having insurance in 2014.  

Steve Wood, community health coordinator of the ACR Health Syracuse office, said they are continuing outreach in nine counties in central New York, encouraging people to get help from specially trained navigators who can help with the process.

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6:25am

Fri February 14, 2014
Education

Pre-K funding fight fuels upstate-downstate divide

James F Clay Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo seems to have gained the upper hand and some new allies in his policy skirmish with New York City Mayor Bill deBlasio over how to fund pre-kindergarten, as the fight threatens to turn into an upstate downstate split.

DeBlasio has been seeking permission from Cuomo and the legislature to raise income taxes on the wealthy in New York City in order to pay for access to pre-kindergarten for almost 75,000 four-year-olds there, arguing that it would help ease income inequality.

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5:34am

Fri February 14, 2014
Health

New medicine may ease allergy suffering

For those who suffer from allergies, allergy shots are currently the best way to get symptoms under control. But a new development could change that. This week on WRVO's health and wellness show "Take Care," hosts Lorraine Rapp and Linda Lowen, speak with Dr. Linda Cox, the president of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Cox discusses allergy drops, which could potentially eliminate allergies for the user.

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3:49pm

Thu February 13, 2014
Politics and Government

Winter snowstorms blow through state budget

file photo
Some rights reserved by digital Battuta

Gov. Cuomo has declared a state of emergency for nearly all of Eastern New York including New York City, Long Island, the Hudson Valley into Albany, as another winter storm hits the region.

The governor says the frequency of storms this winter has depleted the state’s budget for plowing, sanding and salting, but he says his budget staff will find the money from other parts of the budget to deal with the storm and potential future storms this year.

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3:24pm

Thu February 13, 2014
Politics

Maffei co-sponsors new public campaign finance push

Rep. Dan Maffei (D-Syracuse) is among the co-sponsors of a new public campaign finance law.
Ryan Delaney WRVO file photo

A new public campaign finance bill introduced in Congress is gaining support, including from Syracuse Rep. Dan Maffei.

Maffei, a Democrat, is among 130 co-sponsors of the Government by the People Act. It looks to amplify small campaign contributions from individuals.

Donations of up to $150 would be matched by a new federal fund. The match would be six times as much as the original, so a $100 donation would turn into $700. That’s if the candidate agrees to turn away money from political action groups, or PACs.

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11:46am

Thu February 13, 2014
Public Radio Presents

New York in the World

Join us Sunday, February 16 for an encore presentation of New York in the World. This documentary brings you stories of union workers in Buffalo, fashion designers in New York City, and farmers in the Finger Lakes - all talking about how they've found a place amid today's new economic realities.

From Niagara Falls to Long Island, from the North Country to the Southern Tier, Upstate, Downstate... we are nearly twenty million.

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7:33am

Thu February 13, 2014
Religion

Church closures become a sign of changing times, demographics

The Christ Lutheran Church in Little Falls is shutting its doors after more than a century.
David Chanatry/NYRP-UC

Americans are generally thought of as a religious people. But in some areas, church closings are becoming a not uncommon event, as fewer young people join to replace the older generation. That's what happened recently with one Mohawk Valley congregation.

From the time more than a century ago when two dozen German immigrants turned an old armory in Little Falls into a place of worship, prayer and music have provided comfort and inspiration and peace to the congregation of Christ Lutheran Church.

Terry Monahan knows the feeling.

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7:07am

Thu February 13, 2014
Health

Possible treatment for Parkinson's developed upstate

Some rights reserved by ZEISS Microscopy

Researchers in upstate New York have developed a new cell therapy that could treat Parkinson’s disease, a neurological disorder which affects motor function. The study from the University of Rochester Medical Center suggests this new approach could not only halt progression of the disease, but also reverse its impact on the brain.

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