Tom Magnarelli

Reporter, Syracuse

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

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

The Syracuse Police Department is holding a civilian police academy to expose the public to the challenges of being a police officer. It comes after a tense year for police officers and communities in Syracuse and across the country.

Several Black Lives Matter protests were held in Syracuse in 2016 demanding more independent oversight, accountability and demilitarization of police.

Syracuse Police Department Detective Mark Rusin said the civilian police academy is meant to start an open dialogue, to clear up misunderstandings and to give people a glimpse at policing.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Over the past several years, many central New York residents have debated passionately about what they think should happen to the Interstate-81 project through downtown Syracuse. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

A $12 million renovation is underway at the Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Syracuse. The cathedral has many maintenance problems similar to what other older churches face in the city.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

As a new year begins, mayoral candidates in Syracuse are looking towards the 2017 election, since Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner cannot run for reelection because of term limits.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

After 18 years, Onondaga County Legislator Kathleen Rapp is stepping down. Rapp reflected on her time in the Legislature and the many accomplishments she has seen and also what she believes can be improved.

Rapp said the county's economic and job development over the years including Hancock Field and the Tech Garden, is unprecedented.

She said she feels great about the transformation that has taken place at Onondaga Community College and Onondaga Lake.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

As friends and family return home for the holidays, one event in Syracuse is trying to convince them to stay. The “Come Home to Syracuse” event connects former residents with employers in the area.

Believe in Syracuse Executive Director John DeSantis said the event targets individuals that used to live in Syracuse and tries to get them to think about the Syracuse community and the idea of moving back.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

A remembrance ceremony for the bombing victims of Pan Am Flight 103 was held at Syracuse University yesterday. To commemorate the anniversary, a small ceremony was held for friends and families at Hendricks Chapel and a service at Arlington National Cemetery took place simultaneously.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

For the last four years, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said she has been trying to create five food hubs to help centralize food processing and distribution upstate. Gillibrand said one food bank in Rochester is stepping up its operations and she wants one in Syracuse to do the same.

Gillibrand said the Foodlink regional food bank in Rochester has a commercial kitchen and food processing machines. Instead of only repackaging and sending out food, Foodlink can also clean and slice produce which makes them attractive to commercial food distributors in New York City.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The Syracuse Common Council has approved a tax settlement agreement with the developers of Symphony Tower in downtown Syracuse. The deal brings developers one step closer to turning the property into a Hyatt Hotel across from the Marriott Downtown Syracuse.

Councilor Nader Maroun was the only one who voted against the agreement. He said it is not good policy to be giving Symphony Tower what he describes as a precedent setting deal.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) called it unacceptable and a serious crime the allegations that Russia hacked Democratic and Republican organizations to influence the 2016 election. Gillibrand said she believes it is necessary President Barack Obama responds proportionately.

“It’s a wake-up call," Gillibrand said. "We need to harden our assets. We need to make sure we protect all our businesses. This kind of crime can really undermine people’s confidence and the companies they do business with and our democracy.”

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Upstate Medical University moved 340 employees to a new location in downtown Syracuse bringing their downtown workforce to about 400. Businesses are also moving downtown as part of a revitalization of the district.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

State Department of Transportation officials said it is possible a tunnel could be reconsidered as an option for the I-81 reconstruction project in Syracuse. But I-81 project director Mark Frechette made it very clear at a public meeting why the tunnel option was eliminated.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul made a few stops in central New York on Tuesday focusing on smart growth and sustainability. Hochul toured Syracuse University’s Center of Excellence where students and professors are working on new ways to conserve energy through air conditioning.

That research is through a U.S. Department of Energy grant and is in partnership with the Carrier Corporation. Hochul said these centers of excellence across the state have raised billions in revenue and create thousands of jobs.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

For more than 30 years, the Seneca Meadows Landfill has operated in Seneca County. But a recently passed local law will close the landfill in nine years. The landfill provides jobs and revenue to the area, but some residents see this region moving in a different direction for its future.

The Seneca Falls Town Council passed Local Law 3 which bans landfills in Seneca Falls after 2025. Seneca Meadows Landfill District Manager Kyle Black said that law targets them and will essentially shut down their operation.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The Interstate-81 project to replace the current viaduct in downtown Syracuse is down to two options. But regardless of whether a community grid or new viaduct is built, common features are proposed for another section of I-81 north of the viaduct. Those features include a new I-81 and I-690 interchange known as flyovers. It will also expand lanes and reconstruct several bridges.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The Syracuse Common Council will create a youth advisory council to get more young people involved with local government. The youth council will also give councilors the chance to hear what problems young people face in the city.

Common Council President Van Robinson said the youth council will help young people learn more about city hall.  

“I have run across many of our students, who have absolutely no idea what government is all about and are totally oblivious to the fact that we live in a Democratic society,” Robinson said.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The city of Syracuse has sworn in 34 new police officers. It comes at a challenging time for law enforcement in Syracuse and across the country.

Syracuse has had 28 murders so far in 2016, the most  in the last five years. The Syracuse Police Department has received more calls reporting shootings this year compared to 2015. Police Chief Frank Fowler said the department is committed to trying to make a difference. On top of that, Fowler said, the police in general, can be targeted unfairly by some in the public and the media.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The Syracuse Common Council may soon request a pilot program from the state to bus all students living one mile or further from schools. Currently, the Syracuse City School District transports students that live one and a half miles away of further from schools. The new change could affect more than 1,100 students.

The pilot program would fund the cost plus remove a penalty the state assesses for transporting students who live closer to school. Councilor Susan Boyle said there is an immediate need and action needs to be taken quickly.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

A small protest outside of Chase Bank in downtown Syracuse gave information on the various banks financing the Dakota Access pipeline. Protesters encouraged people to pull their money out of the big banks supporting the pipeline and reinvest it into local credit unions. The protest was part of a national day of divestment.

Renee Vogelsang, one of the organizers of the event, said it is a powerful way to take action against the banks.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The next piece to the revitalization of the downtown Syracuse area home to the former Hotel Syracuse will soon be in place. Developers and the city of Syracuse have struck a tax deal that will lead to a Hyatt Hotel, across the street from the Marriott Downtown Syracuse.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

A Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Syracuse on Tuesday focused on the issue of violence against black women. Protesters highlighted one incident in particular as part of the group’s continuing effort to push for police accountability.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

Syracuse’s Land Bank is applying for a new round of funding from settlements the New York State Attorney General’s Office made with banks after the 2008 mortgage crisis. The land bank wants to use the new funding on renovations in areas of the city it has previously neglected.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Syracuse’s Buy Local Bash is Monday and it highlights local food, beverages, arts and retail in the central New York area. The event has been growing for the past seven years and this one could be the biggest yet. The event is being held from 5-9 p.m. at the Central New York Regional Market.

Syracuse First, the nonprofit that organizes the bash, was founded in 2009 by Chris Fowler, who says he remembers well what it was like in those early days.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

State officials helped deliver Thanksgiving dinners to residents in need in cities all across New York. In Syracuse, that happened at the Southwest Community Center, which targeted seniors and others who could use the meals the most.

Forty-five big boxes that can each feed a family of 12 were donated by Wegmans. They each include a turkey, mashed potatoes with gravy, stuffing, butternut squash, green bean casserole and cranberry relish.

Sharon Owens of the Southwest Community Center said they wanted to give the boxes to families they identified with having a tough time.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The city of Syracuse will enter into a three-year agreement with a company it has been using to boot cars with unpaid parking tickets. The contract was held up over questions about how aggressive the company has been in booting vehicles.

Provided by the Onondaga County Sheriff's Department

The Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department announced that two arrests have been made in the robbery and murder of a Syracuse University student in September in the town of DeWitt.

Cameron Isaac, 23, of North Syracuse and Ninimbe Mitchell, 20, of Syracuse were both charged with second-degree murder and first-degree robbery. The victim was Xiaopeng Yuan, 23, who is from China. Officials described the incident as a drug deal gone wrong.

Provided by Tom Dadey

Onondaga County Republican Chairman Tom Dadey gave a very early endorsement to President-elect Donald Trump and Dadey was with Trump on election night. Dadey said he does not think it will be bad for the region for Trump to know that he has friends in Onondaga County.

After the election results were in, Dadey said Trump was statesmen-like and gracious when Trump came down with his family to address supporters at the New York Hilton Midtown Hotel.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Residents in the town of DeWitt got a chance to see the final two proposals for reconstructing Interstate-81 through downtown Syracuse. Rebuilding the viaduct or replacing it with a street-level community grid could impact the DeWitt area.

If the state goes with the community grid option, Interstate-481, which runs through DeWitt, would be redesignated as the new I-81. It would circumvent the city of Syracuse rather than going through it as I-81 does currently and would continue to do if the viaduct is rebuilt.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

An Onondaga County grand jury has determined the fatal shooting of a man by a Syracuse police officer in the Syracuse University area was justified. This was the third fatal shooting by Syracuse police officers this year.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Three more tiny homes for homeless veterans have been built on Syracuse’s south side. The nonprofit, A Tiny Home for Good, finished their first two homes earlier this year.

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