Tom Magnarelli

Reporter, Syracuse

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul was in Syracuse Monday pushing gun safety legislation meant to address school shootings. The bill, which would prevent individuals from buying or possessing guns who are believed to be a severe threat to themselves or others, is still tied up in the state legislature.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO Public Media File Photo

Members of Congress from New York, on both sides of the aisle, are focusing in on how their parties can win seats in November's midterm elections. The economy and women are two factors that could push each party towards victory.

Central New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) and Finger Lakes Rep. Tom Reed (R-Corning) both agree; to win in the general election, Republicans need to focus on the strong economy. Reed said Republicans should celebrate the low unemployment rate, which is at historic levels for the black and Hispanic populations and promote passing tax cuts.

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Demonstrators in Syracuse took part in a “Families Belong Together” rally, happening across the country Thursday, to protest the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their families at the Southern border. The policy is meant to deter immigrants from crossing the border illegally. Protesters call it cruel, violent abuse and a moral outrage.

Irene Workman is a social worker who has worked with children who have been separated from their families by foster care or juvenile detention centers.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

The city of Syracuse could take the first steps toward building a municipal fiber network this summer. The project would provide high speed bandwidth at an affordable price for the city, but could also benefit the community. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Central New York residents took familiar sides in the ongoing debate over what should replace the aging Interstate-81 viaduct in Syracuse. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media File Photo

A number of Syracuse University fraternity students involved with racist and sexist videos that were released to the public this spring, have been suspended for up to two years. The videos made national headlines and caused an uproar on campus when they were first shown.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

The Syracuse Police Department is going from 16 to 100 body cameras for its uniformed officers. But some of the policies related to body cameras remain unclear.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Questions still remain regarding a proposed law in Syracuse that would make it illegal to tether a dog outside in high heat or freezing temperatures for two hours without proper shelter. Wednesday’s public meeting on Adrian’s Law raised concerns from some Syracuse common councilors and dog owners.

Officer Rebecca Cosgrave, the animal cruelty investigator for the Syracuse Police Department, said she responds to hundreds of calls every year of dogs outside in extreme hot or cold weather, which can result in heat exhaustion or frostbite.  

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

“Adrian’s Law,” the legislation meant to stop dog owners from tying up their dogs outside for hours in high heat or freezing temperatures, is getting new life in the Syracuse Common Council after failing to pass the Onondaga County Legislature in April.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is expected to soon release its management plans to combat harmful algal blooms in 12 lakes, some in central and northern New York. The Great Lakes Research Consortium is also commissioning five projects to address the outbreaks and other environmental issues.

Greg Boyer is a SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry professor and the director of the consortium.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Utica-area Democratic Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, who is also running for Congress, is calling on the U.S. Senate to stop a potential cut to the Department of Defense that could affect civilian jobs in Rome. A 25 percent cut to civilian resources was included in the House’s National Defense Authorization Act that passed last week.

There are 960 employees at Rome Defense Finance and Accounting Services, which pays the Army’s bills. Ed Abounader, the president of the union representing those employees said cuts could mean losing jobs.

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Not since 1984 has Syracuse missed its annual Jazz Festival, but it was announced last week the event will not take place this year. The festival’s organizer said he needs to develop a more long-term, sustainable financial model to keep the festival going for years to come.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News (file photo)

Onondaga County Comptroller Bob Antonacci has won the Republican designation in the race to fill retiring central New York state Sen. John Defrancisco’s seat. The 50th district, which includes parts of Onondaga County, has been in Republican control for decades. Antonacci won over Syracuse Common Councilor Joe Carni, who Antonacci said has agreed to support him and not challenge him in a primary. Antonacci said he has the best balance of business and government experience to fix Albany.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

A new $62 million Exposition Center at the New York State Fairgrounds is on schedule to be completed and open in time for this year’s fair. The expo center could help the fair recruit larger shows to the region.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

In a 4-3 split, the Syracuse Common Council rejected a waiver item to allow the parks department to buy bulk food and paper products from Walmart. Councilor-at-Large Michael Greene said Walmart is not the ideal corporate citizen, in terms of how much employees receive in wages and benefits.

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Last week, demonstrators in Syracuse marked the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, or “catastrophe” in Arabic, which refers to the migration of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians during the independence of Israel. The Syracuse rally was held the day after the U.S. moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and 60 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces at the Gaza border.

Ashley Bohrer, a member of the Syracuse chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace, said President Donald Trump’s decision to move the embassy was horrifying.

Concerned Citizen YouTube Page

A top official at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse has resigned amid allegations he fabricated stories about his service with the U.S. State Department. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media File Photo

Disciplinary hearings were held last week for 15 students involved in a racist and sexist fraternity video at Syracuse University. An SU professor advising three of those students at the hearings said it was not an open and fair process.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Central New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) said this week that the tax reform law passed last year is helping companies and employees in the region. Katko said the economy is on a path of sustained growth. 

Syracuse University

Syracuse University is investing $118 million dollars in renovations to the Carrier Dome as part of SU’s 20-year Campus Framework plan of projects. The renovations include a new roof for the dome, which will change what has been an iconic part of the Syracuse skyline for the past several decades.

Airbnb

The village of Cazenovia is considering regulating short-term online rentals like Airbnb, after complaints from residents pressured the village board to do something. The board is trying to find a balance between bringing in outside visitors and protecting the quality of neighborhoods.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

Local Republican members of Congress are united in supporting President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement. Rep. John Katko, Rep. Elise Stefanik and Rep. Claudia Tenney said the deal was flawed and gave too many concessions to Iran.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Syracuse’s new corporation counsel said she is looking forward to the creation of a Municipal Violations Bureau to lighten the law department’s workload. The new bureau would be responsible for taking on less serious cases of code enforcement.

Syracuse Corporation Counsel Kristen Smith said the bureau would consist of administrative law judges who could review violations and issue fines. 

Allyn Family Foundation

A public market and food hall is being planned in downtown Syracuse by the Allyn Family Foundation, which was associated with the medical device manufacturer Welch Allyn.  The new building is supposed to fit into the foundation's mission of community development.

Meg O’Connell, the executive director of the foundation, said the idea of a downtown public market has been floating around for years, but it has been difficult to get one organization to take the lead. 

Former-Syracuse parks commissioner Lazarus Sims pleaded guilty to stealing money from the city. Sims, who was suspended in March, resigned from his position earlier Monday.

In an apology letter, Sims admitted to taking $5,400 after falling on hard times financially. He apologized to those he hurt, including young people who looked up to him as a role model. Sims said he hopes to someday regain the trust of the community.

Sims was hired as parks commissioner in 2015, and was a Syracuse University basketball player in the 1990s.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Syracuse Schools Superintendent Jaime Alicea said the district has made significant progress in the last four years, while they have been complying with an agreement known as the Assurance of Discontinuance with the state attorney general’s office. The agreement is in its last year and was originally put in place because the district had one of the highest suspension rates in the country.

Sheila Sicilia

Immigration activists in Syracuse have been filming federal border patrol agents questioning the citizenship status of travelers at the Regional Transportation Center. But U.S. Customs and Border Protection said those agents are following the law.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is pushing for legislation that would provide more access to funding for employee-owned businesses. Gillibrand said there is an urgency to create more opportunities for retiring baby boomer business owners.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News (file photo)

Hearing officers with the New York State Board of Elections have ruled that Democratic congressional candidate Juanita Perez Williams has enough signatures, by a slim margin, to be on the primary ballot. This comes after more than half of the signatures collected by Perez Williams in the 24th congressional district race were invalidated by the board of elections.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

The New York State Department of Labor is holding hearings across the state to gather input on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to eliminate minimum wage tip credits. Many restaurant workers who attended a hearing in Syracuse said they are against the plan.

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