Tom Magnarelli

Reporter, Syracuse

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

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Symphoria, the professional orchestra of central New York, has announced new details on its upcoming fifth season. The orchestra is becoming more popular, but there are concerns over possible cuts to federal funding of the arts.

The orchestra tuned their instruments and prepared for a rehearsal of their show, "Superheroes & Villains of the Silver Screen," on Thursday. Conductor Sean O’Loughlin, a native of Syracuse, entered the stage and shook the hand of the first chair, the leader of the first violin section, as customary.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The Greater Syracuse Land Bank is once again a top earner of grant funding from the office of the New York state attorney general. The funding is awarded from mortgage settlements the attorney general’s office made with big banks after the housing crisis.

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The city of Syracuse has developed a business web portal that allows users to access information to start or grow their businesses. The database application is meant to spur economic development in small businesses.

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The Community Development Block Grant is funding distributed by the federal government to local governments and states to use on housing and economic and social development. President Donald Trump’s proposed budget eliminates CDBG funds. That means some programs in Syracuse could be hit hard, if not eliminated, by the cut.

The Syracuse Common Council recently approved the distribution of nearly $4.5 million in CDBG funding for this year. Syracuse Common Councilor Helen Hudson said that means the city’s community centers and housing partners can stay on track.

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A new report from the Brookings Institution puts the Syracuse metropolitan area last out of the country’s 100 largest metro areas in adding jobs from 2010 to 2015. The Syracuse metro area consists of Onondaga, Oswego and Madison counties. But some of the data is not as bad as it seems for the region.

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Syracuse University men's basketball coach Jim Boeheim said he never had any intention of staying with the program beyond next year.

"I fully knew that next year would be my last year," Boeheim said. "I never, ever thought anything else, ever. I never tried to change that in any way, shape or form. I was thrilled that Mike Hopkins would be the coach here at the end of next year. That was set in stone."

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Despite receiving an invitation, Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) did not attend a town hall in Syracuse on Saturday organized by the CNY Solidarity coalition. Those who did attend are urging the central New York Republican to oppose the actions of President Donald Trump’s administration.

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Syracuse Democratic Councilor Khalid Bey is looking to expand his influence by running for an open at-large seat on the Common Council in November. Bey is the chair of economic development in a city where growth is lacking.

The city of Syracuse is ranked last in economic growth out of the top 100 municipalities in the U.S., according to a new study from the Brookings Institution.

Bey said it is at the discretion of the mayor of Syracuse, Stephanie Miner, to negotiate and enter business contracts and to decide how to spend the city's money.

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Snow showers and freezing temperatures did not stop protesters in Syracuse from rallying to end the deportation of immigrants on Wednesday. Members of the Workers' Center of CNY demonstrated in support of one of their own.

Dolores Bustamante, a Workers' Center board member, faced an immigration hearing in western New York Wednesday. Some feared Bustamante could have been detained and deported. Minnie Bruce Pratt, of Syracuse, said Bustamante is a linchpin in the fight for humane conditions for immigrant workers.

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The city of Syracuse wants to spend $3 million less on road reconstruction than it did last year. That has some councilors worried about road conditions.

The city’s budget office said Syracuse has been posting deficits for a number of years now. That’s one reason why the mayor's administration asked the Common Council to approve $2.5 million to improve streets, rather than $5.5 million like they did last year.

The measure passed, but Councilor Nader Maroun said roads need to be more of a priority.     

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Public debate continues in Syracuse about President Donald Trump's policies, including his newly ordered travel ban. The executive action temporary suspends the visa process for six majority-Muslim nations and refugees.

Wayne Marshall / via Flickr

After three years of rejection, the city of Syracuse is again applying for federal funding to reduce childhood lead poisoning. The money would be used to eliminate the hazards in a home that can result in lead poisoning. Commissioner of Neighborhood and Business Development Paul Driscoll said this year’s application will also include inspecting homes for other potential dangers.

"It could be mold, radon, asbestos or pest infestation that leads to asthma," Driscoll said. "We’re trying to address all the health hazards in a house with one visit, one application."

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Archbishop Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York will preside over the funeral mass Friday for retired Bishop James Moynihan at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Syracuse. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse announced Moynihan died on Monday.

During his tenure, Moynihan oversaw many of the biggest issues facing the Catholic Church in the past two decades.  

Moynihan's body was brought to the cathedral on Thursday. Following Friday's funeral, Moynihan will be buried in the Cathedral crypt in Syracuse.

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Republican candidate for mayor of Syracuse Laura Lavine said she would turn the city around like she has with the Lafayette School District. Lavine has spent 40 years in public education and is in her third year as the district’s superintendent. Lavine said she would use her administrative skills as mayor.

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The Republican healthcare plan to replace the Affordable Care Act will likely change significantly before it comes to the House for a vote, according to Rep. John Katko. The central New York Republican said he has concerns with the legislation, which he has shared with House leadership.

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More than a year ago, the central New York region was awarded $500 million over five years from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Upstate Revitalization Initiative. Some critics say the money has not yet gone to some of the region’s big projects.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner said she is not satisfied because funding for a veterans complex, inland port and the city’s Say Yes to Education program has not materialized.

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Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) is weighing in on President Donald Trump’s new travel ban, which temporary suspends the visa process for six majority-Muslim nations and refugees. And Katko also has an opinion about the claim that Trump's phone was wiretapped during the 2016 campaign.

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Every week, Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner hosts a protest against President Donald Trump focusing on how Trump’s actions affect local residents. Each rally deals with a specific issue like healthcare, climate change, and most recently immigration. A few Trump supporters have been coming to the protests and Miner has defended their right to speak up in favor of the president. After last week's rally, two central New York women, Tina Higgins of Syracuse and Carol Puschaver of Liverpool, have very different points of view but started having a conversation.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

The Syracuse Common Council has voted to pay for the technology that will allow police to hear gunshots fired in the city in real time. The ShotSpotter program is expected to cost around $200,000 annually. The council approved $300,000 for its first year.

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Converting from fossil fuel heating systems to electric will help meet New York state’s climate goals and make home heating more affordable, according to a new study. The initial cost of installing electric systems is steep but the report says there are ways the state could help.

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After months of speculation, Syracuse Common Councilor Joe Nicoletti announced his candidacy for mayor. With more than 30 years in public service and several attempts at running for mayor before, Nicoletti said he is the right guy at the right time.

Nicoletti’s Republican opponent for councilor-at-large in the 2016 election said Nicoletti was only in it to become mayor; that it was a lifelong dream of his. Republicans now looking towards the mayoral race say voters are sick of career politicians. Nicoletti said that's frivolous.

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Immigration activists in Syracuse say no undocumented immigrant is safe under President Donald Trump’s executive order to speed up deportations.

Aly Wane of Syracuse said Trump’s order widens the definition of a criminal alien to include anyone who is undocumented.

“Like, for example, someone who is a visa-overstay is considered a criminal alien now or someone who crosses the border for the first time is now considered a criminal alien whereas before it was simply a civil offense,” Wane said.

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The Syracuse Common Council has approved a $49 million renovation to the Syracuse Hancock International Airport. The Syracuse Regional Airport Authority has a goal of 30 percent local hiring for the project.

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The Syracuse Common Council unanimously approved a request that the city’s school board require new employees in the district live in the city. Currently, almost 60 percent of Syracuse City School District employees live outside of the city. The statistic is worse for teachers and administrators. School Board Chair Derrick Dorsey said it would be great to have high level employees living in the district.

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The Syracuse Common Council is expected to vote Monday on a request that the city’s school board require new hires to live in the city of Syracuse. Nearly 60 percent of all employees in the district do not live in the city.

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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is pushing legislation to help seniors who have been financially exploited by phone and online scams. Scammers hack personal information and trick seniors into giving them money.

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Around 200 protesters demonstrated outside Rep. John Katko’s office in Syracuse Wednesday as well as a smaller number at Katko’s office in Auburn. Protesters are frustrated Katko will not hold a town hall to hear their concerns.

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Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner is adding her voice to demands that Rep. John Katko hold a town hall meeting. Protests outside of Katko’s office by progressive groups have been ongoing.

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After an unsuccessful bid for the Onondaga County Legislature, Democrat Timothy Rudd is running for Syracuse's Common Council. Rudd said he is not opposed to the idea of one day merging the governments of the county and the city.

Rudd said he opposes the current Consensus proposal to merge the governments.

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Municipalities across New York State are expected to be paying more in energy costs because of the state's nuclear subsidies. That is according to a report from the Alliance for a Green Economy, which opposes the nuclear subsidies. The report estimated the extra cost for six of the state's largest cities. The city of Syracuse is expected to pay an additional $1.4 million over the next 12 years. Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner said that number does not scare her.

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