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

Green Party candidate Eric Graf, 25, announced he is running for the Syracuse Common Council. Graf works for the Syracuse City School District and said he wants more funding for schools and smaller class sizes. He said he supports a $15-an-hour minimum wage, more bike lanes and more worker-owned businesses.

To pay for their progressive platform, Green Party candidates, including Graf, say they want a progressive income tax on city workers and residents.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

State legislators from central New York are sounding off on what they would like to see the Legislature accomplish before the legislative session ends in June. One item includes funding for damages incurred from flooding along Lake Ontario and other New York waterways.   

State Sen. John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse) is sponsoring a companion piece to the Senate’s flood relief bill that would include expanding funding for properties damaged along Seneca Lake, Seneca River, Oswego River, Oneida River and Cross Lake.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Green Party candidates in Syracuse are pushing state Sen. John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse) to support universal health care in New York. The bill could be close to getting a majority of senators to sign on.

Syracuse mayoral candidate Howie Hawkins said DeFrancisco is the only New York state legislator representing the city that is not in favor of a single-payer system.

“We want John to be a hero for Syracuse, because this bill would solve the city’s fiscal crisis,” Hawkins said.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

As residents continue to deal with the high water levels in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, businesses along the shore are preparing for the all important Memorial Day weekend. One town along the river is waiting to see if the weekend will be an indicator of how tourism will be this season.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

After months of focusing on members of Congress, protesters with the CNY Solidarity Coalition are shifting their attention to the New York State Legislature to push their progressive agenda. They are calling on Democratic state Sen. Dave Valesky to cut his ties with the Independent Democratic Conference. 

Protesters wore black veils and carried fake tombstones at a mock funeral held outside Valesky’s office in Syracuse. Rachel May with CNY Solidarity was among them.

“Dearly beloved, we come here to pay our respects to poor, progressive Bill,” May said.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

After years of financial loss, St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse is posting a profit. New York state helped contribute to the financial gains.

St Joseph’s Chief Financial Officer Meredith Price said a $20 million state grant lifted the hospital to an $8 million profit. The grant has allowed the hospital to pay for the outstanding debt on the purchase of a primary care physician practice.      

St. Joe’s had a loss of nearly $20 million last year.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The Syracuse Common Council has voted to override the mayor’s veto and defund the Syracuse Land Bank of $1.5 million in the city's recently passed budget. Some councilors called into question the land bank’s performance of maintaining foreclosed properties.

Rich Puchalski with Syracuse United Neighbors offered candy to councilors who would vote to return land bank funding.

“Most of you, don’t experience what we experience day in, day out,” Puchalski said.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

In one council district in Syracuse another candidate is stepping into a race that has already seen four other candidates fight for the Democratic Party’s endorsement. It is continuing the trend of young people entering politics.

At the Green Party office in Syracuse, Serena “Rahzie” Seals, 33, candidate for the city’s fourth district, posed for pictures with supporters. Seals is trying to follow in her father’s footsteps, who once held the same seat. Seals said she is excited for the election because so many people in her generation are standing up to do something in the city.

File Photo
Greater Syracuse Area Land Bank / City of Syracuse

The Syracuse Common Council will soon have to decide if they want to override Mayor Stephanie Miner’s veto to a number of amendments the council added to the budget. Those amendments include cuts to the funding of the city’s land bank.

Miner released a list of 60 properties scheduled for demolition that will have to be put on hold unless the council restores funding to the land bank, which takes over tax-delinquent properties. Many of the properties on the list have had a number of police calls and complaints ranging from drugs, trespassing, arsons and shots fired.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

At least four Democratic candidates for Syracuse mayor have said they will challenge the party's designated candidate, Joe Nicoletti, in the September primary. A primary could drain resources from a campaign that will have to take on a Republican, an independent and a Green Party candidate in November.

Nicoletti said he is humbled to have the support of the Democratic Party.

“Hopefully the reason the party turned to me, was because I have experience, experience of many years," Nicoletti said. "Some people will say that is a negative but I don’t think so.”

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

A federal bill that would reduce the amount of time animals spend in shelters after being abused and neglected has support from animal rights advocates and elected officials in central New York. The legislation would speed up the legal process to reduce the burden on shelters and give abused animals new homes sooner.

Dogs like Brutus come into the DeWitt Animal Hospital for a variety of reasons. Brutus is a mastiff pit bull mix that was a stray and about 20 pounds underweight.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Four Democratic challengers are vying for two open city-wide seats on the Syracuse Common Council. Now they will be joined by Green Party candidate Frank Cetera, who is making another run after an unsuccessful attempt in 2015. Cetera is supporting a number of progressive issues. He said the Greens are continuing to build on their movement.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

While the town hall went on inside, protesters vented their frustrations about Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) outside the venue at Onondaga Community College. The rally organized by CNY Solidarity, objected to the rules and random selection of audience members at the town hall.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Syracuse Common Councilor Joe Nicoletti has won the Democratic Party's designation in the race for the city’s next mayor. Nicoletti will likely have to face a primary in September.

Nicoletti has made several unsuccessful attempts at running for mayor before, but he has insisted that just shows his commitment to Syracuse. Nicoletti has previously said he will work to improve the city’s relationships with the county and state governments if he is elected.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Alaska Purchase, which was negotiated by Secretary of State William Henry Seward, who lived in Auburn. The Seward House Museum is celebrating the anniversary with the unveiling of a new Seward statue on Saturday that will make its way to the Alaskan capitol of Juneau.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

CNY Solidarity protesters are demanding Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) vote to release President Donald Trump’s tax returns. Protesters like Jonah Minkoff-Zern waited outside for Katko at a Wednesday event in Syracuse.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) said the firing of FBI Director James Comey by President Donald Trump will not interfere with the bureau’s investigation into Russian hacking of the 2016 presidential election.

Tom Magnarelli

The Syracuse Common Council has passed a budget that includes some controversial changes to what Mayor Stephanie Miner had proposed. Miner said she will veto the changes.

The council has cut overtime from Syracuse’s fire and police departments by $1 million each. But Councilor Steven Thompson said the money cut for police overtime has been shifted to hire new officers.

Mountain Lake PBS live online

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-Willsboro) took a number of questions regarding healthcare at a community forum hosted by Mountain Lake PBS Monday night. Stefanik recently voted for the GOP healthcare plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, which passed the House of Representatives. The North Country Republican defended the bill, but admits there are ways to improve it.

Provided photos.

Two Democratic mayoral candidates in Syracuse have different perspectives when it comes to tackling the city's problems. One comes from one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city, the other has built an organization that helps network more than 400 local, small businesses.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

A demonstration of what a supervised injection facility for heroin users would look like has been making its way across cities in New York state. The sites would allow someone to use the drug under medical supervision. To make it a reality, the state would need a new law.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The Syracuse City School District is asking for $10 million less than what it initially requested for the next fiscal year. This comes after New York state decided which additional aid requests it would grant and which ones it would reject from the district.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The Tompkins County Legislature is scheduled to vote on raising the legal age to buy tobacco and vaping products from 18 to 21 years old on Tuesday. The legislature and public opinion remains divided on the issue.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Several recent violent crimes in downtown Ithaca have prompted a reaction from the Ithaca Police Department. The crimes are uncommon for the city.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

A deficit of more than $18 million currently exists in the proposed budget of the city of Syracuse. About $13 million dollars is being allocated in overtime to the police and fire departments. Some councilors say the way to reduce overtime is to hire more staff.

Syracuse Fire Chief Paul Linnertz said the department has 28 firefighters in training.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The Onondaga Creekwalk is a 2.5 mile pedestrian and bike trial along Onondaga Creek that runs from Onondaga Lake to downtown Syracuse. A new phase of the Creekwalk will extend the trail another two miles from downtown Syracuse to the city's south side.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is voicing her objection to President Donald Trump’s proposal to eliminate funding of the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities. The cuts would have a direct effect on organizations in central New York.

At the Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse, Executive Director Natalie Stetson said federal funding allows them to do special projects. Funding helped them produce a documentary called, “Boom and Bust."

Tom Magnarelli / Facebook / WRVO News / Facebook

Four diverse Democratic candidates are competing for a diverse, open district council seat in Syracuse. The district encompasses Syracuse University, a burgeoning downtown and some of the highest concentrations of poverty in the city.  

The candidates are all close in age, ranging from 29 to 31, but they are all bringing something different to the race. Jeremy DeChario runs a food cooperative in the Westcott neighborhood.

Campbell Public Affairs Institute

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney launched a new website to correct what she calls bad information regarding the Consensus recommendations on government consolidation. This comes after a debate was held at Syracuse University last week regarding the proposed city-county government merger.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Two more Democratic candidates are running for two open councilor-at-large seats in the city of Syracuse. Although they come from different backgrounds, both share hopeful visions for the city’s future.

It's Kyle Madden’s first time running for office. A native of Rochester, Madden, 30, oversees Syracuse's public parking garages and ran Mayor Stephanie Miner’s reelection campaign.

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