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 News

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner gave a farewell address at Syracuse University, as she prepares to step down at the end of her term. Miner reflected on her time as mayor and used the opportunity to focus on bigger problems affecting New York State.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

Local substance use clinics in central New York are reacting to President Donald Trump’s declaration of the opioid crisis as a public health emergency. Some officials said there are real solutions the federal government can do to save lives.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

State Sen. John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse) is criticizing Gov. Andrew Cuomo for vetoing bills that DeFrancisco said would help residents in the region. DeFrancisco has been pushing one bill in particular for the past three years.

A universal visitability tax credit would give some reimbursement for residents to retrofit their homes to be more accessible for the elderly and disabled, like adding wheelchair accessible entrances. Tania Anderson, the CEO of Arise, which provides disability services, said local residents are waiting 1-4 years for accessible housing.

Tom Magnarelli

This week, Syracuse University is asking students to remember the 1988 Pan Am Flight 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, which killed 270 people, including 35 SU students studying abroad. SU’s Remembrance Scholarships honor each of the students killed in the attack.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The number of Syracuse University students confirmed to have mumps has increased to 27 with 45 more probable cases. SU, in partnership with the county and state health departments, will offer a booster dose of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR) to students this week.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

If Democratic mayoral candidate Juanita Perez Williams is elected, she will be only the second woman elected as mayor of Syracuse and the first Latina mayor in the state. But the endorsement of three, female Democratic officials for Perez Williams' opponent, independent candidate Ben Walsh, has widened a rift in the Democratic Party.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Earlier this year, the Syracuse Common Council allocated funding for the city to hire more police officers. But Mayor Stephanie Miner’s administration said it has no intention of training a new class of officers.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Individuals with autism can be at risk when law enforcement and first responders do not know how to react to them during an incident. But a recent training seminar hosted by Arc of Seneca Cayuga in Auburn was meant to bring more awareness of the autism community to first responders.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Democratic Syracuse mayoral candidate Juanita Perez Williams called on the other three candidates in the race to sign a letter pledging not to support the proposed city and Onondaga County government merger outlined in the Consensus report on government consolidation. Perez Williams said her opponents have failed to say where they stand on the issue.

"From day one I've been talking about this," Perez Williams said. "We need to know from our next leader that they're going to stand up for the city." 

Matt Coulter / Syracuse University

The role of the traditional political parties is being called into question on the national and local levels. Syracuse’s mayoral race offers a few examples of candidates outside the mainstream trying to break through.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

Friday is the deadline to register to vote in the upcoming November election, but it is also the last day to change party affiliation before next year’s primary. New York is a closed primary state meaning only registered party members can vote in their party’s primary.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Bed bugs have been confirmed in ten schools in the Syracuse City School District in the past two weeks. Superintendent Jaime Alicea said the affected rooms and buildings have been sanitized and cleaned to eliminate the bugs.

“They are not dangerous," Alicea said. 'They do not carry diseases. They are a nuisance but they are not dangerous. We don’t want to have them in the school or in their houses so, they’re a nuisance."

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The New York Mets have announced an agreement to buy the Syracuse Chiefs minor league baseball team. The Chiefs are community-owned and the deal still needs the approval of shareholders.

Mets Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon said there was a little bit of arm twisting by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney and Sen. Charles Schumer to get the Mets to come to Syracuse.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

To reduce childhood hunger, some elementary school students in the Syracuse City School District are getting extra food to take home with them on weekends. Multiple community partners are assisting the district through a national donation program.

Syracuse School District Director of Food and Nutrition Rachel Murphy said there is a need for food outside of school hours among some of the poorest kids.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Syracuse University professors and students helped work on the discovery of gravitational waves, which won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics. They were part of an international scientific collaboration of about 1,000 researchers, analyzing the data from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory. SU physics professor Duncan Brown said gravitational waves are ripples in the fabric of space time caused by colliding black holes.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

In the wake of Sunday night’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, parents are left with the difficult decision of how to talk to their children about national tragedies. Some medical professionals in Syracuse recommend parents be honest but also reassuring with kids.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The Republican candidate running for mayor of Syracuse says if elected, she would hire 50 additional police officers for the city. Laura Lavine blasted the city’s violent crime rate, calling it a bigger sign of Syracuse’s decline.

Standing in front of a bullet-ridden, Skiddy Park police substation, renovated after a deadly riot on Father’s Day last year, Lavine said the station is staffed so sporadically that shooters fire upon it with little fear of getting caught.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

Many owner-occupants of tax-delinquent properties in the city of Syracuse are getting extra time to catch up on their back taxes. But that raises some concerns from the buyer of the city’s foreclosed properties.

Every Syracuse Common Council session usually involves a decision on what action to take regarding a list of foreclosable properties in the city. At their most recent session, Councilor Susan Boyle put 11 out of 15 properties in her district on hold from foreclosure. She said most of those properties are owner-occupied and owe less than what the property is worth.    

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Republican Syracuse mayoral candidate Laura Lavine is blaming independent candidate Ben Walsh and elected officials for the closing of the nearly 100-year-old, family-owned, Nojaim Brothers Supermarket in the city. Tax breaks were given to a competing Price Rite grocery store about a mile away.

Standing in front of the Nojaim store, Lavine questioned why tax breaks were given to another grocery store so close to this one.

Supporters of Democratic Syracuse mayoral candidate Juanita Perez Williams rallied across the street from an event for independent candidate Ben Walsh Thursday. The event in the Westcott neighborhood, was meant to highlight Democrats that are supporting Walsh.

Nancy Mueller / NYS Federation of Lake Associations, Inc.

Updated at 8:00 p.m. Thursday

Onondaga County health officials continue to say that the city of Syracuse's drinking water, along with the drinking water of other municipalities that draw water from Skaneateles Lake, is safe to drink. 

Samples tested Thursday at the state’s Wadsworth Lab in Albany found 0.25 parts per billion inside the City of Syracuse Gatehouse located in the Village of Skaneateles, but prior to the completion of the chlorination.

This level is consistent with prior reported sampling at the Gatehouse and below the health advisory levels for both adults and sensitive populations. All other locations in the water system – including the City of Syracuse, the Town of DeWitt, the Town of Skaneateles, the Village of Elbridge, and the Village of Jordan – showed non-detectable levels of algal toxins in finished water. These levels remain below the EPA’s 10-day health advisory level of 0.3 parts per billion for sensitive populations and well below the EPA advisory level for adults of 1.6 parts per billion.

Residents in the Village of Skaneateles and the other municipalities which use this drinking water source can continue to drink the water.

Original Post

Elevated levels of toxic blue-green algae have been discovered in the water of Skaneateles Lake. The lake is the primary water supply of the city of Syracuse’s water system. While tests show the public water is still safe to drink, residents who live along the lake’s shoreline and drink water directly from the lake could be at risk.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Another Democrat has announced she will seek the party’s nomination to run against Rep. John Katko's (R-Camillus) 24th Congressional District seat next year. Dana Balter, a Syracuse University professor, said she was compelled to run after the results of the 2016 election. Balter said she feels like the country, its people and its values are all being threatened in the wake of last year’s election.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Syracuse Councilor Joe Nicoletti is endorsing Juanita Perez Williams for mayor of Syracuse, after she defeated him in the Democratic primary last week. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

A family-owned supermarket on Syracuse’s west side, which has been open for nearly 100 years, is expected to close its doors next month. It is a loss for residents in an area with some of the highest concentration of poverty in the city.

Nancy Gardner has been living on the west side and coming to the Nojaim Brothers Supermarket her entire life. She said it was a shock to hear they are closing.

“This is like close to home where you can shop," Gardner said. "I don’t know what people are going to do without. Because there is no other shopping near here.”

Rome Capitol Theatre Facebook

The city of Rome will receive $10 million from the state for new downtown economic development projects. The city was one of the winners of the second round of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative. 

Cuomo announced Rome’s prize like an award ceremony.

“I’m going to open the envelope and find out, because they don’t tell me what the actual answer is," Cuomo said. "Congratulations Rome, you have won first place, which is $10 million.”

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

It is National Suicide Prevention Week, and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Syracuse hosted an event honoring local efforts to raise awareness. Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner issued a proclamation making this week Suicide Prevention Awareness in the city. The V.A. has been working with the Onondaga County Suicide Prevention Coalition for about a year. Veterans make up a significant percentage of suicide deaths.

Ellen Abbott

Juanita Perez Williams, a political newcomer whose grassroots campaign appealed to minority and new American voters, has won the Democratic mayoral primary in the city of Syracuse. According to unofficial election results, Perez Williams pulled in more than 52 percent of the vote in a three-way race.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Today is Primary Day in upstate New York and most voters will begin casting their ballots at noon. This year, the Onondaga County Board of Elections has had an unusual amount of challenges to petition signatures collected by candidates.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Tuesday is Primary Day in the city of Syracuse and the candidates running for mayor are making advances or dropping out of the race. The field of nine candidates is narrowing, but several names will likely be on the ballot in November.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Central New York Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney is pushing to uphold the funding for the Legal Services Corporation, which provides legal aid to those who cannot afford it. This comes after President Donald Trump released a proposed budget earlier this year eliminating the funding.

Tenney said the House of Representatives has restored $300 million to the Legal Services Corporation in their proposed budget but that still leaves an $85 million cut.

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