Catherine Loper

Director of Regional News Content, WRVO Public Media

Catherine comes to WRVO Public Media following a 20-year career as broadcast reporter, senior producer, newsroom manager, and, most recently, Director of News for the Washington Bureau of the Fox News Channel. From 2007 to 2010 she was Director of White House Coverage for the network. She has held similar positions at Canadian Television Network, ABC NewsOne and APTN.

Loper had a M.A. in Public Affairs Reporting from University of Illinois at Springfield and a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism and History from University of Southern California.

Ways To Connect

Marie Cusick / Innovation Trail

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration will prohibit hydrofracking in New York state, citing unresolved health issues and dubious economic benefits of the widely used gas-drilling technique.

Environmental Commissioner Joe Martens said at a cabinet meeting this morning that he was recommending a ban. Cuomo had repeatedly said he would defer to Martens and acting health commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker in making the decision.

Republican John Katko, who beat incumbent Dan Maffei to represent the 24th Congressional District, has picked for his senior staff a mixture of familiar central New York faces, an experienced Capitol Hill staffer, and colleagues he has worked with before.

Familiar to many in Syracuse is Tom Connellan, who has worked for the Syracuse Police Department for 25 years. Connellan will become Katko's district director, leading the local staff here in central New York. Connellan has most recently been the press spokesman for the Syracuse police.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Congressman-elect John Katko is finding out more about what his responsibilities will be when he is sworn in to the House of Representatives in January.

It won't become official until next week, but preliminarily it appears that Katko will serve on two committees, Homeland Security and the Transportation and Infrastructure committees. The first plays to the Republican's experience as a former federal prosecutor, as Katko dealt with border issues while working in El Paso.

Office of the Attorney General (file photo)

New York state finds itself with a five billion dollar surplus -- something that hasn't happened in a while. It's thanks in large part to bank settlements orchestrated by the office of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

In a recent interview, Schneiderman said the money should be put in a special infrastructure fund. The attorney general says regions with economic problems hardest hit by the housing crash should be targeted to receive some of the funds.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Evacuation plans are being prepared and the Red Cross is setting up shelters as rising temperatures begin to melt seven feet of snow that piled up in some parts of the Buffalo area, causing a risk of flooding.

Temperatures approached 50 degrees in Buffalo on Sunday and are expected to be near 60 today. The National Weather Service said street flooding should be expected in urban areas where storm drains are blocked by the heavy snow.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Syracuse-area Congressman-elect John Katko is heading to Washington, D.C. today to begin a week-long orientation session for freshman lawmakers.

The Republican has named a 12-member transition team, which includes former GOP Rep. Jim Walsh.

The team will hire staff and create an agenda for Katko’s first 100 days in office. The transition committee draws from the public and private sector, including Ryan McMahon, chairman of the Onondaga County Legislature, former House of Representatives staff members and a personnel recruiter.

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.

New Channel 9 WSYR

Democrat Dan Maffei and Republican John Katko met for their sixth and final debate of a race that has been contentious and full of attacks.

The News Channel 9 debate Sunday night saw both candidates make accusations, beginning with the race's many negative campaign ads and the fundraising needed to pay for them. The moderator asked both candidates whether or not they would need to answer to those who donated to their campaigns from outside the 24th Congressional District.

Katko pointed out that Maffei has had more money to spend in this race.

Ryan Delaney/WRVO and Katko for Congress

Republican John Katko and incumbent Democrat Dan Maffei largely stuck to the issues in their latest television debate Tuesday night. The two candidates took stands on the economy, Common Core and U.S. military action in Syria on the half-hour debate on CNY Central.

But on the issue of what to do about the aging span of Interstate 81 through downtown Syracuse, neither candidate had a definitive answer.

Katko said the options that have been presented are good ones, but he needs more information.

Will O'Leary / NPR

Fans of NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday know that host Scott Simon is more than just a radio host. As an author of a variety of books from novels to very personal non-fiction, Simon was invited speak to the Friends of the Central Library's 20th season of the Rosamond Gifford Lecture Series. WRVO News Director Catherine Loper spoke with Simon about his upcoming visit.

Catherine Loper: So you're coming to Syracuse to talk to the friends of the Central Library's, part of their author lecture series. What are you going to talk to them about?

David Sommerstein/NCPR

The green party candidate for Congress in the North Country's 21st district, Matt Funiciello, is coming under fire for his opinions on the September 11 terrorist attacks. Earlier this week, it was reported that Funiciello has questioned whether or not the U.S. government has told the truth about why the World Trade Center was destroy and Pentagon was damaged.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) says he believes President Barack Obama would get bipartisan support if he comes up with a strong plan to deal with the militant Islamic group ISIS, which has taken responsibility for beheading two American journalists.

While in Plattsburgh Wednesday, Schumer said the execution of the second journalist sent shockwaves around the world.

NYS Democratic Party

Aaron Woolf, the Democratic candidate in the North Country's 21st Congressional District, released his first television ad today.

Woolf, a documentary filmmaker, is running against Republican Elise Stefanik and Green Party candidate Matt Funicello to replace retiring Democratic Congressman Bill Owens. Woolf's television commercial says that if elected, he would be willing to work with Republicans to get legislation passed.

Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo/Flickr

Election Day is less than three months away, and despite a recent scandal that gained national media attention, Gov. Andrew Cuomo still is leading the race. That's according to the latest Siena college poll. WRVO's Catherine Loper spoke with pollster Steven Greenberg, who explained why. 

Catherine Loper: What are the main findings in this latest Siena poll about the governor’s race?

Michael Johnson / Flickr

An attempt by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's supporters to get his Democratic primary opponent, Zephyr Teachout, off of next month's ballot has been thwarted.

Teachout has been declared eligible to run on the ballot next month. A Brooklyn judge issued the decision Monday afternoon, quashing arguments made by Cuomo supporters who say Teachout did not met New York's five-year residency requirement. They argued that she had a Vermont driver's license until this spring and spent the majority of her time there.

A new report recommends that New York simplify its organ donation process, because 18 people die per day in the state awaiting a transplant. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield conducted the study. The company's medical director, Dr. Martin Lustick, says they found that just 22 percent of New Yorkers are registered donors, compared to 48 percent nationally.

"Unlike states that have a high rate of registration, our process for registering is somewhat more cumbersome than the average across the country," Lustick said.

Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

The National Weather Service officially declared that it was a tornado that struck the town of Smithfield in Madison County, killing four people, destroying four homes and severely damaging three others.

Madison County Sheriff Allen Riley announced that the victims include Kimberly Hillard, 35; her four-month-old baby, Paris Newman; Virginia Warner, 70; and Arnie A.D. Allen, 53.

reed_sandridge / Flickr

Everyone from doctors to educators to first lady Michelle Obama seems to be concerned about the nutrition and physical activity children in this country are getting. A recent WRVO community health forum asked a panel of regional experts about what is being done and what should be done to improve the diet and fitness of the children in central and northern New York.

A startling statistic captures why there is such concern across the country about childhood obesity rates.

Brett Levin / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said today that there's still a chance the state legislature could pass a medical marijuana bill that he would sign.

Only five days remain in this year's session, and the governor had previously said that he it was unlikely any major issues would pass by then. But in an interview today with the public radio show "Capitol Pressroom," Cuomo declared that medical marijuana legislation is not dead.

North Country Rep. Bill Owens (D-Plattsburgh) announced Tuesday that he will not seek reelection in November -- surprising the political establishment and putting the seat for the 21st Congressional District up for grabs.

Catherine Loper/WRVO

Pounding snow in the North Country and bitterly cold temperatures across the state will around for at least one more night.

Government officials in New York state from the governor on down are urging residents in parts of northern, central and western New York to stay indoors as lake effect snow, wind chill advisories and frigid temperatures are causing dangerous conditions.

In Wednesday's State of the State address, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is going to propose a plan the would encourage localities to consolidate services with other government entities.

His plan to freeze property tax rates for two years is dependent on local governments and schools demonstrating that they are consolidating and sharing some services with other governments in the second year. If they fail to do that, property taxes would go up after all.

As Congress begins to debate a resolution to authorize United States military action in Syria, members of the New York congressional delegation are expressing their opinion publicly about what should be done.

Rep. Tom Reed, a Republican who represents parts of the Finger Lakes and Souther Tier regions, has been conducting a listening tour in his district to gather opinions from his constituents.

Leah Landry/WRVO

In 2004, a musician with roots in central and northern New York came up with an idea for a fundraiser to help preserve the St. Lawrence River. Every Fourth of July weekend since then, singer-songwriter Jay Nash has led a group of musicians in the "Rock for the River" concert in Clayton, which benefits the non-profit group "Save the River." The events have been so popular, this year they've added another concert on Labor Day weekend. WRVO's Catherine Loper recently spoke with Nash about how his passions for the river and music intersect.

The tragedies caused by prescription drug abuse, addictions, overdoses and ruined lives are not unique to New York state, but Assemblyman Michael Cusick realized a couple years ago that Staten Island, where his district is located, could be considered the epicenter of the problem.

“We have numbers that are staggering of people overdosing from prescription drugs and the theft of prescription drugs," Cusick said. "The misuse is rampant here on Staten Island."

Auburn plant announces closure

Feb 21, 2013

A manufacturing company in Auburn, N.Y. has announced it will be closing its doors by the end of 2014.

A new poll finds voters overwhelming support for many of the items that Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pushing, including parts of the newly enacted gun control law. 

SUNY Oswego has received the largest donation in its 150 year history. The gift comes from a couple who have already dedicated much of their life's work to the university.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says preparations for his January State of the State address are "in good shape."

As life starts to get back to normal in the parts of New York and New Jersey that were devastated by Hurricane Sandy, other areas of the country are asking themselves if they could have weathered that kind of storm.

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