Ryan Delaney

Reporter, Innovation Trail, Central New York

Ryan Delaney works on the Innovation Trail project - covering technology, economic development, startups and other issues relating to New York's innovation economy.

Ryan began his public radio career working for WAER in Syracuse while still in college, where his work was honored by the Syracuse Press Club. He then returned to Syracuse, N.Y. from Albany where he worked at WAMC. Prior to that, Ryan filed stories for The Allegheny Front in Pittsburgh.

His reporting has also been heard on NPR, Vermont Public Radio and New Hampshire Public Radio.

Ryan grew up in Burlington, Vt. He has a degree in broadcast journalism and international relations from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and Maxwell School at Syracuse University.

Ways To Connect

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A bad flu virus continues to spread through the community, as flu cases in Onondaga County are up five-fold from this time last year.

The flu is coming early and often for much of the United States, according to health officials, and central New York has not been spared.

Connectologist / via Flickr

Newly sworn-in Rep. John Katko has already attached his name to an effort to repeal the medical device tax.

The tax on medical equipment manufactured in the United States was tacked on to the Affordable Care Act as a way to pay for the health care overhaul. But it’s angered device makers, like Welch Allyn in Skaneateles. The company attributed recent layoffs to the tax’s impact.

O World of Photos / via Flickr

Oneida County is using some its share in revenue from the Turning Stone casino to fund arts and science programs.

Oneida County is receiving a $2.5 million annual cut of the Turning Stone profits. That’s through a revenue sharing deal between the Oneida Indian Nation that runs the casino and New York state.

County Executive Anthony Picente has proposed using those funds for downtown development, infrastructure upgrades, public safety, and arts and science.

Brian Hoffman / via Flickr

Upstate New York is bracing for its first sting of cold winter weather this week.

Already this cold weather system has caused some school delays and closures. And high winds knocked out the power in Tompkins County on Monday. But it’s going to get a whole lot colder by the middle of the week, the National Weather Service is predicting.

"It looks like on Wednesday, we’ll be lucky to see a high of ten degrees in Syracuse," said Ray Brady, a meteorologist with the weather service.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

One of the new laws going into effect in New York this year is targeted to employ more out of work veterans.

New York state now has a tax rebate program for companies that hire an unemployed veteran. It’s worth five percent of the vet’s salary – or 15 percent if the veteran has a service-related disability.

Now that it's 2015, a handful of new laws go into action in New York state. They range from new tax credits to bans on taking picture with some large cats. Here's a roundup:

Hiring incentives

Businesses that employ veterans or people with developmental disabilities will receive a state tax refund for each new hire starting this year, worth 5 to 15 percent of each worker’s salaries.  Higher credits apply to companies that hire veterans with physical disabilities. Lower credits apply for part-time hires. The programs run for two years.

Durrie Bouscaren / WRVO File

Influential central New York State Sen. John DeFrancisco is retiring today, but he’ll go right back to work tomorrow.

DeFrancisco, a Republican from Syracuse, is 68 years old. That means he’s been eligible to retire as a state employee and collect a pension for the past three years. He’s finally doing so, even though he was re-elected to office in November and plans to continue to serve in the Senate.

Credit USACE Europe District / via Flickr

Onondaga County health officials are urging residents to get a flu shot after the flu season has gotten off to a strong start.

"What we are seeing is increased hospitalizations and increased number of cases. We are comparing last year’s versus this year’s. So there is a quite upsurge," said county health commissioner Dr. Indu Gupta.

Daniel X. O'Neil / Flickr

Workers in New York who earn the minimum wage are getting a raise today. The state's minimum wage is now $8.75 an hour, up from the $8 it stood at before. It will fatten the paychecks for 284,000 employees across the state, according to the labor department.

"This is a good thing for workers in New  York state. Is it enough? No, it's not enough," said Ron Deutsch from the Fiscal Policy Institute, who argues wages should be be closer to $11 an hour, given inflation.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

It’s been a long time coming for Kathleen DiScenna to get the "magic key to the magic house of Oz." It's really just a screwdriver "until we get our grants and re-do the doors and locks," she explained.

The large Neal House, at 678 West Onondaga Street in Syracuse, was built in 1871. But it’s fallen into disrepair, with broken windows, peeling paint and crumbling fireplaces. No Wicked Witch lived here, but the house on the West Side of Syracuse holds a lot of importance to fans of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz and its author.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

John Dau is a man that perseveres. And the staff of his medical foundation on the ground in South Sudan is no different. Since the Duk Lost Boys Clinic in rural South Sudan was destroyed in March by rebel fighters, the medical team has fanned out to keep working.

Doug Kerr / Flickr

The holidays are a time for people to travel home to be with family. A community group that works to promote Syracuse to young adults is hoping to take advantage of that.

The organization 40 Below figures most people in their 20s and 30s who are home for the holidays will be going out for drinks this weekend anyway. They want to use that to convince people to move back to central New York.

PJ Mixer / via Flickr

The holiday travel season begins today. And a trend of more people hitting the road for the holidays is continuing.

Travel service AAA is projecting 98.6 million Americans will be someplace else for at least part of the holidays, a record number.

"It’s up 4 percent compared to last year. It’s also the highest travel volume on record. And AAA’s data does date back 13 years," said AAA spokeswoman Diana Dibble.

AAA recorded increases in travel for Labor Day and Thanksgiving holidays, too.

New York State Department of Transportation

New standards for how crude oil is shipped along rail lines through states like New York are moving forward, but Sen. Charles Schumer says the process needs to move faster.

The crude oil crossing the nation now is hauled in train cars known as DOT-111’s. Safety advocates say the cars are outdated and lack equipment to stop leaks or explosions. Introducing newer models has been a slow process. 

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.

Matt Richmond / WSKG

A temporary ban on the controversial gas extraction method hydrofracking has dragged on for years. Even as the governor says a long-awaited study is nearing completion, a large group of local officials want the ban to continue.

Elected Officials to Protect New York, made up of more than 850 local-level elected officials, says Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration still has not properly studied fracking enough.

Daniel Lobo/flickr

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner will soon have an innovation team to help develop new ways to solve city problems.

Syracuse is one of a dozen cities to win a grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies to create an innovation team. Miner says they’ll look at using big data to solve some of what she calls the city’s "intractable problems."

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

If you’ve been to a Syracuse University basketball game this year, you may have noticed a different tint to the toilet bowl water in the restrooms. Here's why:

The Carrier Dome is now collecting rain and snow that falls on about half of its six acre puffy white roof. That water filters down the building into 50,000 gallon underground tanks. It’s then treated and stored, ready for a game break bathroom rush.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

A student holds a stack of laminated cards, each with a picture of a household item. She works her way through the cards, identifying each picture in Oneida.

The Oneida language is being taught the old fashioned way in a community room on nation territory. Flashcards for repetition and nearly every item in the room is labeled with its name in Oneida.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The Hotel Syracuse is receiving a multi-million dollar state grant through New York’s competitive economic development funding program. The project is part of $80.2 million in funding central New York won.

Central New York’s regional economic development has been named a "top performer" for the third time in four years in the state’s flashy economic development funding program. It competes against other regions of the state for aid. The state gave out $709 million in all.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

It’s a rainy late fall day in New York City and the Metropolitan Museum of Art is crowded. Even Walter Liedtke, one of the museum’s curators, has to vie for viewing space. As he tells the story of a once debated Rembrandt painting, he has to shuffle to the side to make room for some patrons.

"I can’t really see it on the surface, but in X-rays there’s been a lot of discussion as to whether this picture was longer on the bottom," he described, before being interrupted.

Studying the weaves of the canvas is done by shooting x-rays through the layers of paint and exposing what’s behind the image most only glance at on the wall.

fishhawk / Flickr

New York’s dairy industry likely won’t see more of the good times next year farmers experienced in 2014, largely because dairy prices and profits are expected to level off.

Andy Novakovic, a professor of agriculture economics at Cornell University, says dairy markets in New York are already starting to decline to be in balance with the rest of the world, "but we have quite a bit of altitude to lose before we get to where the rest of the world is," he said. 

This was a great year for the dairy industry, he said. 

DJ Leln / via Flickr

Some of the hand-me-down gear the Syracuse police force has received from the Pentagon is harmless - and in fact pretty useful: First aid kits, 40 pairs of long johns, 50 pairs of winter boots, even electrical tape and bungee cords.

Don McCullough / Flickr

There are 57 fire departments is Onondaga County, which is nearly twice as many as the number of municipal governments. That’s just one example of the issues facing a task force on government consolidation. Tallying the number of government agencies is the first job.

There are 36 municipal governments in Onondaga County, from the city of Syracuse to tiny Marcellus. Each also has its own public works department. With government costs rising and population – or really, the tax base – shrinking, the county has been looking at ways to consolidate services.

Upstate Drone Resisters / (file photo)

A judge has sentenced another person arrested for protesting drone warfare outside of Hancock Airfield. Mark Colville is just the latest in a string of protesters to be brought before the DeWitt town court.

Colville, of New Haven, Connecticut, was arrested a year ago for trying to deliver a letter to commanders at the base of the 174th Attack Wing of the Air National Guard. He was arrested when he refused to leave.

Before standing in front of the judge Wednesday, Colville said his court date should not be a somber event.

J J / via Flickr

The Utica Police Department is closing in on its 100th arrest made with evidence gathered on social media.

Four years ago, Utica police decided to post a video of a crime on Facebook. They hoped someone on the social media site would recognize the suspect or provide other clues.

It worked, says Lieutenant Steve Hauck, and they’ve been using Facebook more and more since.

Michael Hilton / via Flickr

A national scam to trick people into thinking they owe money to the Internal Revenue Service and forking over payment has reached central New York.

Utica Police call this phone scam aggressive. The scammers are calling numbers in the 315 area code and claiming to be from the federal tax collection agency. They then demand money orders or some other quick payment form to settle a debt with the IRS. Don’t pay up, and the police will be after you, the threat goes. 

Photo Dean / via Flickr

With leaves on the ground and snow falling, trees in upstate New York are becoming dormant for the winter, but urban tree cover is still important.

As many urban areas become more populated or new buildings are constructed, urban trees are often chopped down. Most cities in the country are losing tree cover. And it has consequences.

"Trees are not just decorative. They’re infrastructure. And hence, they’re important for that reason," said Emanuel Carter, a professor at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

simonimages / via Flickr

Maybe it’s to allow for guilt-free indulgence around the dinner table this afternoon. Or perhaps it’s about family bonding, but more central New Yorkers are lacing up their running shoes on Thanksgiving morning and going for runs before the feast.

"We tell ourselves that it’s offsetting that gluttony. 'Oh, I can have those massed potatoes now, I did that Turkey Trot this morning,'" said Liz Knickerbocker, with the running store Fleet Feet

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Syracuse activists want events in Ferguson, Missouri to lead to more dialogue and understanding between the community and law enforcement.

They renewed those calls Tuesday afternoon with a few chants of "No justice, no peace" downtown.

It was a much more restrained affair in Syracuse than the destructive protests outside St. Louis, Missouri Monday and Tuesday.

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