Tom Magnarelli

Reporter, Syracuse

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

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Eight candidates are running for four positions on the Syracuse school board. This comes after an impressive showing by Democrats in the primary.

Tim Carroll, the Syracuse city Democratic chairman, said the race for the board of education started in January when 14 Democratic candidates declared they were running for four positions.  

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

This week is “Law Enforcement Appreciation Week” in the city of Syracuse. A series of events are planned in honor of police officers and one in particular who was killed in the line of duty. Friday will mark the 25th anniversary of the death of Syracuse Police Investigator Wallie Howard. Howard worked in narcotics on a D.E.A. task force and was undercover on a special assignment when he lost his life. Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler said they are asking the city to join in a moment of silence on Friday at 2:24 pm. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The Syracuse Common Council voted down a motion supporting Mayor Stephanie Miner’s decision last week to raise the minimum wage for city employees to $15 an hour. Some Common Council members said there are still too many unanswered questions about the plan.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

An organization on Syracuse's southwest side is tackling the neighborhood's unemployment problem from all different angles. It hopes a new grant from the state will help.

A former funeral home on South Ave. in Syracuse is the headquarters for Jubilee Homes, which is receiving a $3oo,ooo grant from the New York State Department of Labor, to start their Build to Work program. Kristin Davis is one of the job coaches and said they hope to place more than 50 people into long-term employment.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

A 15-year-old open investigation of a homicide in the city of Syracuse has finally resulted in a murder indictment. New evidence is being tied to the suspect police have been after for years.

On April 23, 2000, Waliek Hammer was shot to death at a burger joint on South Salina Street in Syracuse.  Witnesses were uncooperative when police arrived and no one was ever charged for the murder.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Residents on both sides of the issue spoke out at another public hearing on managing deer and ticks in central New York on Tuesday night. Funding will soon be available for neighborhoods to address the problem.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Residents spoke out at a public hearing on the state's effort to make utilities more affordable for people with low-income. That might mean all customers may have to pay a little more.

The New York State Public Service Commission’s proposal is to reduce the burden on low-income individuals and families paying for utilities to about six percent of their income. Currently, low-income residents are paying 10-20 percent of their paychecks to utilities. The six percent figure is on the higher end of the rate everyone else is paying.  

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency has agreed to purchase a site along Onondaga Lake that has been contaminated by industrial pollution for years. County officials are hoping the site can be cleaned and used for development.

The Canadian-based company, American Iron and Metal, which owns Roth Steel, a former scrap yard along Onondaga Lake, came to a settlement so the county could purchase the property. American Iron and Metal wanted to reopen the "pick and pull" junk yard but the county said they had the option to use eminent domain to take over the property.  

Tina Russell / Utica Observer-Dispatch

A judge ruled that the two parents who were charged with first-degree manslaughter in New Hartford for the death of their son will now face a grand jury. Four others have also been charged in the beatings during a so-called counseling session which a witness said lasted about 14 hours.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Many local politicians celebrated the completion of phase two of the Connective Corridor project which brings Syracuse University and downtown Syracuse together through new street improvements, bicycle lanes and pedestrian crossings.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The Onondaga County Legislature unanimously passed its 2016 budget which focused on saving taxpayers' money while tackling some of the big issues facing the county.

The budget includes a cut to property taxes and cuts to proposed increases in sewer and water rates for Onondaga County residents. County legislature chairman Ryan McMahon said the budget will help spur the economy.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO File photo

Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins called for a debate after he announced that he is running against incumbent Marty Masterpole for Syracuse city auditor. Hawkins said not enough audits are being done by the city. Since taking office in 2011, Masterpole has been producing about four audits every year for the city. Prior to that and going back to 2004, the average had been about 10 audits every year. 

Hawkins said if he is elected, he will audit infrastructure planning and the long-term fiscal sustainability of the city.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Residents of the village of Fayetteville in Onondaga County voiced their opinions at a public meeting on a proposed deer management program late last week. While some people questioned how the program’s success will be measured, most agreed that something needs to be done.

Jason Fridley, an associate professor of biology at Syracuse University, said the repercussions of deer overpopulation on forests are more immediate than climate change or invasive insects like the emerald ash borer.

Central New York Regional Economic Development Council / File

Central New York's proposal for the state's economic development competition includes one project with the potential to create up to 2,000 jobs. Those jobs could go to a part of Syracuse that needs it the most.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

A coalition of peace organizations are making a 165-mile walk from Syracuse’s Hancock Air Base to the Niagara Falls Air Base, to bring attention to the military's drone operations that take place there. One of the goals is to educate the public on what it is like being in Afghanistan, where the fear of drones is a part of life for many.

For Julienne Oldfield and about 20 others, the day started at the Hancock Air Base where protesters have rallied against drone warfare for years.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Many Syracuse residents came out to voice their support last night, for a proposed local hiring ordinance for the city’s construction and service contracts. One concern is to make sure contractors can connect with residents who have the right skill sets.

Last year, Charles Rivers of Syracuse was going to school full-time, working two part-time jobs, one seasonal job and struggling to make ends meet.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

Rep. John Katko (R-NY) spoke at a rally to save the Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Plant on Monday. The owners of the plant said they may have to close it next year because it is no longer profitable with the low price of electricity. Katko said nuclear energy is clean energy and with new federal carbon emission standards, New York state can't afford to lose nuclear power plants.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The commissioner of the New York State Department of Transportation and the former mayor of Syracuse, Matt Driscoll, returned to Syracuse on Wednesday to give an update on the I-81 viaduct project. Engineers are currently analyzing each proposal for the interstate's future.

Driscoll says he is seriously considering three plans: a new viaduct replacement, a community grid with the boulevard option or a tunnel. While each plan has its pros and cons, Driscoll said money should not be a deterrent for any of the options. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul met with the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council on Wednesday to discuss the region's proposal to win a portion of the $1.5 billion Urban Revitalization Initiative competition. Seven regions are competing and three winners will receive $500 million each, which will go towards permanent private sector jobs and investments.

Hochul, who was in Syracuse for the governor's Capital for a Day event, said central New York’s council has made a good effort to reach out to the community for input about its submission.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The American Society of Civil Engineers issued gave New York’s infrastructure and gave an overall grade of C- on its 2015 report card. Syracuse officials hope infrastructure funding will come soon from the state and federal governments.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO News File Photo

The Air National Guard wants to fly remotely piloted aircraft out of Hancock Field at the Syracuse International Airport. The change would save time and money, as the National Guard has to send its aircraft to fly from Fort Drum because of airspace restrictions.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

JetBlue Airlines is resuming nonstop flights from Syracuse to Fort Lauderdale, Florida thanks to some convincing from Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY).

Christina Callahan, the executive director of the Syracuse Regional Airport Authority said JetBlue stopped service to that destination back in 2009 because of high fuel prices. But now Callahan said fuel prices have gone down and the amount of people flying every year is up two percent from last year, for a total of two million people using the Syracuse airport.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

A multi-million dollar public space is being renovated at Perseverance Park in downtown Syracuse. Two design teams were chosen to develop the project and they held a public meeting over the weekend to gather input from the community on how the space should look. Jerry Von Eyck is the founder of !melk and his team will collaborate with Balmond Studio on the project.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Victims of past sexual abuse by Catholic priests in central New York are calling for justice as Pope Francis makes his visit to America. But the victims are limited in what they can do by New York State law.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The aging infrastructure across upstate New York has created another problem in the city of Syracuse: sinkholes in the streets. The city is expected to pay for the majority of these repairs.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Pope Francis will celebrate mass at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Friday. Some lucky central New Yorkers won tickets and will be among those in attendance.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

Onondaga County Comptroller Robert Antonacci and Syracuse City Auditor Martin Masterpole spoke to Syracuse Common Council members on Monday about the audit they recently conducted on the Greater Syracuse Land Bank. The common council will soon hold a vote to determine how and when the land bank will receive $1.5 million in funding for their 2015-16 fiscal year. The audit reported the many successes of the land bank, which acquires tax delinquent properties and has resold 188 properties thus far.

New York Invasive Species Information

bout half of the National Forest Service’s budget has been spent on fighting wildfires in the West and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) said it is taking funding away from other critical programs.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The 2015 World Indoor Lacrosse Championship is being billed as "lacrosse comes home" because it is being hosted by the Onondaga Nation and the sport was invented by indigenous nations in upstate New York. The tournament runs from Sept. 18-27.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

Syracuse University professor Eric Kingson announced he will be seeking the Democratic nomination for Congress in the Syracuse-area's 24th District in 2016.

Kingson is pushing a progressive agenda leading with an expansion of Social Security. A small but vocal crowd of younger and older people came out to Kingson’s campaign launch in Syracuse and those two demographics are exactly who Kingson said he wants to connect with.

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