Tom Magnarelli

Reporter, Syracuse

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

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney announced on Tuesday that construction is now complete on the new Lakeview Amphitheater along Onondaga Lake. Country singer Miranda Lambert will be the opening act, scheduled to perform on September 3.

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With more than two-thirds of Oneida City School District students refusing to take the Common Core aligned exams this year, the district has one of the highest student opt out rates in New York state. But the standardized tests can provide the district with useful information that they will not have in 2015.

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Syracuse’s Innovation Team is developing new infrastructure ideas for the city. Public forums are being held to gather input from the community.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner created the Innovation Team to think up solutions to the city’s big problems. The team is funded by a three-year grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies. Each year the team will choose a priority area and this year's area is infrastructure.  

Some of the ideas the participants came up with include public Internet service and consolidated city services, such as sewer and water.

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About 100 protesters rallied outside of the federal building in downtown Syracuse on Wednesday, calling on Congress to support funding of Title X, which subsidizes thousands of health clinics nationwide, including some Planned Parenthood clinics.

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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) was in North Syracuse this week promoting a new bill that will help banks and investors loan more money to manufacturing businesses. The bill is meant to help keep manufacturers in the U.S. and New York state.

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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand was in North Syracuse on Tuesday and she responded to Sen. Charles Schumer’s decision to vote against the Obama administration’s Iran nuclear deal, which would lift U.S., China, Russia and European Union sanctions on Iran in exchange for limits put on Iran’s nuclear program.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

Syracuse Common Councilor-at-Large Kathleen Joy is negotiating with Mayor Stephanie Miner’s chief of staff Bill Ryan, to settle a lawsuit brought by a majority of common councilors who refused to sign a computer use policy. Those councilors have been without computer access since the beginning of July. A judge rejected a petition from Syracuse councilors to make city officials restore their computer access while the two sides negotiate a new computer use policy.

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The Onondaga County Legislature approved the creation of a jail oversight committee in January. The legislature appointed Barrie Gewanter to be the commission’s new executive director. Gewanter has been working as the director of the central New York chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union since 2003.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner's administration sent letters to common councilors outlining a framework for changing the city's computer use policy. The majority of Syracuse common councilors sued the Miner administration for cutting off their Internet access after they refused to sign the administration’s computer use policy.

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Republican House Speaker John Boehner traveled across upstate New York on Thursday, attending private golf fundraisers for upstate Republicans in Congress. About a dozen protesters came to downtown Syracuse to voice their disapproval with Boehner, Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) and legislation left on the table while Congress is away on August recess.

 

This year, the House of Representatives passed four bills sponsored by Katko including some to improve airport security.

 

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Two firearms were caught at checkpoints in Syracuse's Hancock International Airport this year. The number of firearms being brought to airports across the country is rising and officials want travelers to know how to fly safely with them.

 

Transportation Security Administration officials say yes, you can travel with a firearm on a flight but no, you cannot bring it on the plane with you. Lisa Farbstein is a regional public affairs manager for the TSA and says a firearm needs to be declared and checked-in at the counter where you check your bags and get your ticket.

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The Syracuse Common Council voted unanimously in favor of the redevelopment of a grocery store on the city's south side. The vote comes after years of community organizers trying to entice the supermarket chain Price Rite, to open a new store on the property.

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Democratic Assemblyman Sam Roberts was recently confirmed by the state Senate as the commissioner of the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. That means he has stepped down from the Assembly. Now, his district seat, which includes parts of Syracuse and the town of Onondaga, is up for grabs.

 

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Dr. Robert Neulander was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison on Thursday for the murder of his wife Leslie Neulander in 2012. The trial of the prominent OB-GYN has shocked and fascinated the Syracuse community.

 

Onondaga County Court Judge Thomas Miller said he did not sentence Neulander to the maximum 25 years to life in prison because of the emotional toll taken on the Neulander family. They have maintained that Neulander is innocent. But Judge Miller also did not sentence the minimum 15 years in prison after scrutinizing the jurors' verdict.

 

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The Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency is reviewing the process of taking over the Roth Steel scrapyard along Onondaga Lake by eminent domain.

 

Ryan McMahon, chairman of the Onondaga County Legislature, asked the Industrial Development Agency to look into the procedure and says the IDA will do an environmental review of the property with potential public hearings.

 

Roth Steel, which closed the scrapyard in 2014, was recently sold to the Canadian-based company, American Iron & Metal.

 

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Attorney Greg Scicchitano will be running as a Republican for town supervisor in the town of DeWitt. Scicchitano is running against the incumbent Democrat Edward Michalenko, who has been the DeWitt town supervisor since 2008 and served on the town board before that.

 

“The position of an elected official should not be a career job," Scicchitano said. "It should be something that they do for a limited period of time and then move on. I don't think there are proper voices being heard I don't think there are perspectives being listened to.”

 

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The Greater Syracuse Land Bank, which acquires tax-delinquent properties with the goal of getting them back on the tax roll, is renegotiating its contract with the city. 

 

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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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