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. 

WRVO News

A hot topic among local governments in central New York recently, is proposing ways to share services. But one Syracuse mayoral candidate with ties to the Consensus Commission on government consolidation is sharing his thoughts on its most controversial recommendation.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Parts of upstate New York have been receiving record amounts of rainfall this year. The rain is one of the contributing factors to the high water levels on Lake Ontario which has caused extensive property damage. But it is also taking a toll on local farmers.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Upstate New York, like the rest of the country, has suffered through decades of job losses in manufacturing. But some manufacturing companies in the Mohawk Valley and Southern Tier can’t find enough skilled workers to fill job openings.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

There have been some bumps in the road since ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft started operating in upstate New York more than a month ago. One concern has been traffic congestion in a small, popular area of downtown Syracuse.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Heavy rains wreaked havoc on Oneida County about a month ago causing flash floods, power outages and destroying some homes. Gov. Andrew Cuomo visited one area on Tuesday to announce funding that may help prevent flooding in the future.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

Independent candidate Ben Walsh is leading the Syracuse mayoral race in terms of fundraising. That does not concern the designated Democratic candidate.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

The city of Syracuse could soon be speeding up its process of code enforcement of property owners. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation allowing Syracuse to create a new municipal violations bureau.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner said if the Syracuse Common Council cooperates, the city could have the bureau up and running this year.

"It's been my experience that I tend to be very ambitious with what I think can be accomplished," Miner said. "I think we will get the lion's share of it done."

The bureau would circumvent the courts in handling code violators.

vadikunk / via Flickr

The Onondaga County Legislature is in the process of hiring legal counsel to sue opioid manufacturers and distributors over the costs of the heroin and opioid epidemic. Some legislators say opioid manufacturers lied about the addictive nature of their products.

Although they do not have a number yet, Onondaga County Legislative Chairman Ryan McMahon said whatever amount they end up suing opioid manufacturers for will never be enough.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The wet weather has made it another challenging year for dairy farmers. State agriculture officials are trying to help farmers cope how ever they can, including expanding the New York State Grown & Certified marketing campaign to include dairy products.

Chuck Luchsinger’s Silver Spring Farm is more than 100 years old. It has about 240 cows, 200 acres and produces about 600 gallons of milk a day.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

New York state residents receive a five percent discount on Thruway tolls if they have an E-Z Pass. Last year, the New York State Thruway Authority decided to eliminate that discount for out-of-state drivers. Some state lawmakers want to see that new revenue go to local governments.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Big changes could be coming to the Onondaga County War Memorial if the county legislature gives its approval. County officials are keeping veterans in the loop as the county looks to sell the naming rights to the War Memorial arena.

The arena is where the Syracuse Crunch hockey team plays and Deputy County Executive Bill Fisher said selling the naming rights could bring in revenue for renovations to areas like the bathrooms which Fisher called a disgrace.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) kicked off a series of town halls across the state at Syracuse University Friday. The generally friendly audience gave Gillibrand a warm reception but asked questions on the biggest issues facing Washington.

Gillibrand was welcomed with a standing ovation but the attention quickly turned to health care and President Donald Trump. Gillibrand called the Republican health care bill "terrible" and said millions of people could lose coverage.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

New York State led the country in a decorative arts movement in the early 20th century and an exhibition at the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute in Utica showcases those products and objects. The country lacked a modern art identity in the mid-1920s, but the revolutionary time period changed everything.

Utica College

In addition to New York’s free college tuition program being offered to some middle class students that attend state schools, there is also the Enhanced Tuition Award for students attending private schools. But the majority of private colleges and universities across the state are not taking part in the program this year.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

A teenager in Syracuse is being honored for his work with the Boys & Girls Club. His leadership extends beyond the organization to his family at home.

Dominique Agee, 17, is adjusting to the accolades.

“It’s weird,” Agee said.

He represented Syracuse at the Boys & Girls Club of America, New York State Youth of the Year Competition at Siena College last month.

“At first it was just for school and then I stayed," Agee said. "It’s fun because of the kids, they’re nice kids, it’s not like they are bad kids. We got good kids.”

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

A record amount of rainfall this year has been one of the contributing factors to Lake Ontario’s high water levels and the damage along its shoreline. But all the rain has at least one benefit for the city of Watertown.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

Juveniles, age 16 and 17, will no longer be subjected to solitary confinement at the Onondaga County Justice Center. A recent lawsuit was settled between the county's sheriff's office and the New York Civil Liberties Union on behalf of six juvenile plaintiffs. The settlement includes the start of a new behavior management system at the justice center. 

NYCLU Senior Staff Attorney Molly Kovel said juveniles could spend weeks or months at a time in a place they referred to as the box.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Syracuse common councilors and their challengers are defending their records and offering new ideas ahead of the upcoming election in November. A recent public forum for all the council candidates focused on jobs, the city's finances and police.

The two women running to be the next council president debated the importance of city contractors hiring Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises or MWBEs. The Democrats’ designated candidate, Councilor Helen Hudson, said she has been strengthening MWBEs. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

A Planned Parenthood clinic in Syracuse is taking part in a national campaign to bring awareness to the organization as its federal funding remains uncertain. Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner showed her support and took some jabs at congressional Republicans.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

A vote this week to give the Syracuse Police Department $1.6 million for new vehicles became a lightning rod for a bigger issue. Some Syracuse Common Councilors say various spending items should be delayed because of the financial health of the city.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

All nine Syracuse mayoral candidates participated in a forum this week. It was a crowded stage that produced a wide range of different answers.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft will be allowed to operate in upstate New York starting June 29th. But some in Syracuse want the city to opt out. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

A new exhibition at the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute in Utica looks at how New York state led America into a new artistic and decorative era in the early 20th century. Many of the pieces on display  were manufactured in upstate New York.

From flapper hats made in Buffalo to Eastman Kodak cameras in Rochester and Steuben Glass in Corning, more than 100 objects from across the state, defining the modern era, are featured. Guest curator Lori Zabar notes modernism is a difficult term to describe.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Progress is mixed on some redevelopment projects in downtown Syracuse. The Redhouse Arts Center is moving forward with construction in the old Sibley’s department store as part of a larger restoration of the building.

Workers are closing off a wall with cinder block tiles in what will be the Redhouse’s new 350-seat main stage theater in what used to be the Sibley’s warehouse. A concrete ceiling was cut out to raise the room’s height to 25 feet so rigging equipment can drop in set pieces.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Symphoria, the professional symphony orchestra of central New York, will play 13 free shows around the region this summer. And the organization has renewed Music Director Lawrence Loh’s contract for four more years.

In addition to traveling around the country as a guest conductor, Loh was also selected as the music director of the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra. Which begs the question, how is he able to wave so many batons at once?

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Across the country it is LGBTQ pride month and members of the community are celebrating in Syracuse this week. It comes at a time when some in the gay, lesbian and transgender community remain vigilant and are remembering a tragic anniversary.

Onondaga County Health Department / Facebook

There were more than 150 additional autopsies performed in Onondaga County in 2016 compared to two years ago. The county is contracting medical examiners from New York City to handle some of the casework.

Barton & Loguidice

The city of Syracuse’s downtown civic strip includes cultural assets such as the War Memorial, Oncenter and Civic Center. Onondaga County is planning some transportation and cosmetic improvements to the area.

The project is being spearheaded by the county and Syracuse University to link the civic strip to the Connective Corridor, a series of improvement projects bridging the university to downtown Syracuse.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The family of a recent homicide victim in Syracuse is pleading with the public for help in solving the young man’s murder. It comes at a time when violence tends to increase each year.

Rasheada Caldwell, the mother of Rasheed Baker, 21, who was shot and killed earlier this week, called her son an awesome kid who loved everyone. He was a former all-CNY high school football player, who then went on to Onondaga Community College.

Corcoran High School

Students at Corcoran High School in the city of Syracuse made a video in response to a recent stabbing of a teacher at the school by a student. The students reacted to a number of negative comments online about the school.

A substitute teacher was stabbed after trying to break up a fight at the school in May. A 17-year-old was arrested and charged with assault and criminal possession of a weapon.

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