Tom Magnarelli

Reporter, Syracuse

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

 

A new dining experience in Syracuse brings local farmers, chefs and consumers together to teach people how to buy and cook local food year-round.

 

Before Alan Gandelman became the owner of Main Street Farms in Homer and Cortland four years ago, he was a high school teacher.

 

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Swimming in Onondaga Lake has been banned since 1940 but the commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Joe Martens, was among a group of local and state officials who jumped into the lake on Wednesday. The event was organized by the nonprofit Believe in Syracuse,  which highlights positive aspects of the city, to show that it is now safe enough to swim in the lake. The state DEC said low bacteria counts and high water clarity meet the standards for swimming. 

 

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A majority of the Syracuse Common Councilors are suing Mayor Stephanie Miner's administration for shutting off their computer access on July 1 after they refused to sign a computer use policy. A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday in state Supreme Court.

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Solarize CNY is helping people across the region add solar energy installations to their homes and businesses. The volunteer initiative will be hosting public workshops and free site assessments throughout central New York during the summer and fall.

 

Chris Carrick is the energy program manager for the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board which is organizing Solarize CNY with the Alliance for a Green Economy.

 

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Rep. Richard Hanna (R- Barneveld) was in Cortland Friday talking about aviation infrastructure, but solving any of those issues will be tied to extending federal transportation legislation, set to expire at the end of July.

 

David Keck is the director of flight operations and the chief pilot for McNeil & Company which leases a hangar at the Cortland County Airport. Keck said his biggest concern about the airport is the infrastructure.

 

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The Tech Garden is an incubator for new technology-related businesses and is celebrating its 10-year anniversary in Syracuse. The Tech Garden offers space for start-up companies to lease, as well as professional mentoring and investment capital.

 

Leane Eckelberg is the CEO of HoverStat which does drone roof inspections for solar panel installations. She went on a call with a solar technician and when they got to the house, it started to rain.

 

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The Green Party in Syracuse is running five candidates for office this year, on what they describe as a a progressive anti-poverty platform. The party says they want to give voters a choice that's different from the current Democratic-controlled common council.

 

Edward Lockhart served almost six years in prison for selling cocaine and he's been struggling to find a job ever since he's been out.

 

Tom Magnarelli

The Covey Theatre Company will perform the 1960's musical “Hair” at the Bevard Studio at the Oncenter in Syracuse. The show marks the end of the mainstage performances for the theatre company.

 

 

 

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After previous attempts in past years were unsuccessful, St. Joseph's Hospital in Syracuse is now becoming a member of Trinity Health, the second largest not-for-profit health system in the country. Trinity Health will now have 87 hospitals, operating in 21 states while employing up to 119,000 workers.

 

Kathryn Ruscitto, the president and CEO of St. Joseph's Hospital, said she's already seeing how joining Trinity is helping the hospital.

 

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Syracuse-area state Sen. John DeFrancisco is pushing Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign legislation he has sponsored that would give a tax break for renovations that makes housing more accessible for those with limited mobility.

Agnes McCray, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, is an advocate for the legislation.

“It's not so much about disability but the capability and the success of us all,” McCray said. "We cannot rest until there is equal opportunity for all no matter where we are in this community.”

Tom Magnarelli

 

Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) is cosponsoring a bill called the TREAT Act in Congress that would increase the number of patients that medical practitioners can prescribe medication for treatment of drug abuse from 30 to 100. Katko held a public meeting in Oswego to address the recent rise in heroin addictions in central New York.

 

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The New York state legislature passed a law that lets each county determine if they're going to allow sparklers leading up to the Fourth of July weekend. More than 30 counties in New York legalized sparklers including Jefferson, Madison and Cortland counties. The ban on sparklers is still in effect for Onondaga, Oneida, Tompkins and Oswego counties.

 

Joan Dolinak, a burn surgeon at Upstate University Hospital, said most sparkler injuries happen to children five-years-old and younger.

 

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Student teams pitched their start-up companies at the Syracuse Student Sandbox demo day. The sandbox is a six-week program for aspiring entrepreneurs that teaches them how to turn an idea into an actual company. The program has been expanding their reach internationally.

 

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Hundreds of immigrants from around the world, now living in Syracuse, came out to Schiller Park on the city's north side last Saturday to celebrate World Refugee Day. 

 

Drummers from the African country of Burundi kicked off some of the cultural performances at World Refugee Day. The morning started with a soccer and volleyball tournament.

 

  A group of young girls take a break from watching. They're wearing brightly colored head scarves of pink, blue and purple. Dahabo Layli used to live in Somalia.

 

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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) was in Syracuse this week promoting legislation that will give employers a $5,000 tax credit for training workers in an apprenticeship program in high-demand industries. Gillibrand said as the number of high-skilled jobs increase, employers are struggling to fill them.

 

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The Greater Utica Chamber of Commerce held what they're calling "chamber day" for the first time on Thursday. The goal was to connect local businesses in the Utica area to each other.

 

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Lyme disease has been spreading in upstate New York for the past few years. For example, there were 57 cases in Oswego County in 2014 compared to just five cases in 2009. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) has introduced legislation that he says would help prevent the disease and educate the public.

Debi Collins found a bullseye rash on her arm, six weeks after she had been working outside one day. Her doctor told her they didn't have Lyme disease in Madison County.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

The Oneida Indian Nation, which operates the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, opened the new Yellow Brick Road Casino in Chittenango earlier this month. Madison County is pushing to receive a percentage of the new revenue New York state is getting from the Oneidas.

Madison County Board Chairman John Becker admits they didn't see this coming.

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The George and Rebecca Barnes Foundation is raising money to preserve the Barnes Hiscock Mansion in Syracuse. The foundation recently gave tours of the home in an effort to bring in enough money to qualify for matching funds.

When you step inside the dining room at the mansion, you’re transported back to the 1880's. Surrounded by mahogany woodwork, mosaic tiles, stained glass windows and murals, one piece of artwork is particularly striking -- a mural that depicts a young black boy with a young white girl.

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The craft beverage industry is revitalizing the upstate economy with billions in revenue and tens of thousands of jobs. The nonprofit Syracuse First held its New Economy Summit this week to discuss improving the region's service and craft beverage industry.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

 

The Syracuse Metropolitan Transportation Council is studying how to improve transportation in Central New York over the next 35 years. But at a public meeting this week, the council said the biggest roadblock is funding.

The transportation council said they are studying a light rail transit or bus rapid transit system along two heavy traffic corridors in Syracuse: Destiny USA to Syracuse University and James Street to Onondaga Community College.

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New York State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan came to central New York Thursday, for his first upstate trip outside of Albany since being elected to the leadership post. He was here supporting the annual Republican clam bake fundraiser.

Flanagan was elected majority leader earlier in the month when former leader Dean Skelos resigned after being arrested on federal corruption charges. Flanagan, who represents the 2nd district in Long Island, says he wants to travel around the upstate area to show that upstate and downstate share similar issues.

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The Central New York Vietnam Veterans of America held their annual watchfire at the New York State Fairgrounds last night. Thousands of people came to honor the memory of those who have served.

ExperienceSymphoria.org

Symphoria, a cooperative orchestra in central New York where the musicians are the owners, announced its new 2015-16 season. And, with the upcoming season, Symphoria's new music director is focused on making the orchestra more accessible to the public.

As orchestras in major cities across the country experience declining ticket sales, Syracuse's Symphoria is ahead of track on their subscription sales for next season. Larry Loh, who will officially begin as the music director of Symphoria this fall, admits growing an audience for the orchestra is challenging.

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Democrats in Onondaga County have nominated the candidates they want to see on the ballot in 2015. Toby Shelley, a former Onondaga County sheriff's deputy, will run for county executive against Republican incumbent Joanie Mahoney. Last year, Shelley ran and lost the race for Onondaga County Sheriff.

Onondaga County Democratic Committee Chairman Mark English says Democrats made a hard push to get candidates to run for 12 positions in the Onondaga County Legislature this year. 

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By the end of 2015, the group Consensus CNY will release a full report on how to modernize government in Onondaga County.

Consensus CNY is a 19-member commission with former Rep. James Walsh serving as co-chairman, collecting data on local government to find areas to improve.

Melanie Littlejohn, one of the commission members, spoke with young professionals in Syracuse from the group 40 Below about the initial findings for Onondaga County.

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Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, gave the commencement speech at Le Moyne College on Sunday. Dolan's visit has been marked with controversy.

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Public meetings began in Utica this week discussing whether residents are comfortable with a local farm applying to grow and dispense medical marijuana in New York.

Twelve-year-old Mackensie Kulawy was diagnosed with intractable epilepsy or Doose Syndrome when she was four and has been living with persistent seizures. Julie Kulawy, of New York Mills, is her mother.

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“Ragtime,” a musical about racism and xenophobia at the beginning of the 20th century is being staged in Syracuse this weekend. And producers of the show say the themes of the show are still relevant today.

Kenneth Overton is a professional actor and singer from the New York City area who came to Syracuse to play Colehouse Walker, Jr., a struggling musician in the musical “Ragtime.”

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The New York State Fair began public meetings on Wednesday to discuss how it will spend $50 million in state funds to renovate the fairgrounds. So far, proposals for the renovations would require tearing down a piece of Syracuse history.

At stake is about 70 acres of land where the Grandstand at the New York State Fairgrounds currently sits.

County Executive Joanie Mahoney unveiled a plan back in March to replace the Grandstand and the oval-shaped Moody Mile dirt race track that surrounds it with an equestrian park, multi-use indoor ice complex and new RV park.

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