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A bi-coastal, 24-hour news operation, Morning Edition is hosted by NPR's Steve Inskeep or David Greene in Washington, D.C., and Renee Montagne at NPR West in Culver City, CA.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And for some reaction to the president's speech, we're joined now by Republican Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado. Good morning.

SENATOR CORY GARDNER: Good morning.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Governments in Onondaga County spend an average of $3,900 per resident each year. And spending on each of the 468,000 people in the county is rising.

Those are some of the findings in a new report out on government consolidation.

Center for Government Research president Joseph Stekfo says municipalities that go through consolidation typically see noticeable savings but that’s if governments and residents are willing. He says any change in municipal services pulls at people expectations of community.

Why Was Iran's President Riding The Subway?

Jan 20, 2015
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Ellen Abbott / WRVO

The online MBA program at Syracuse Univeristy’s Whitman School of Management has its biggest class ever signed up this year. Officials say it’s a reflection of a growing trend in higher education.

At the start of the semester this January, a new cohort of Syracuse University MBA students got together for a happy hour. The difference? They were having their party online.

Whitman School assistant dean Amy McHale says this semester’s class set enrollment record. Distance learning master’s programs have been at SU since the 1970s, when students sent in their papers by mail.  

Governor Andrew Cuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has spent the days leading up to this joint State of the State and budget message rolling out a number of new programs and proposals, including an anti-poverty agenda that includes raising the minimum wage, and tax cuts for small businesses.

Cuomo says as part of his budget, he’ll include a new phased-in increase of the minimum wage to $10.50 an hour by the end of 2016. In New York City, the rate would rise to $11.50 an hour. The governor says New York City is arguably “the most expensive market” in the U.S.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The man who finished in third place for governor of New York last fall has still issued his own state of the state in hopes of a continued push for his vision.

Howie Hawkins, a Syracuse resident, has been a constantly more progressive voice than the state’s liberal leaders. He’s pushing for programs that go a step beyond what Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo will lay out in his State of the State address Wednesday afternoon.

Community colleges say free tuition won't cut it

Jan 20, 2015
Solvejg Wastvedt / WSKG

Earlier this month, President Barack Obama said he wants to give all students, regardless of income, two free years of community college.

“Right here, right now, I’m going to announce one of my most important State of the Union proposals,” he said in a speech at Pellissippi State Community College on January 9. “And that’s helping every American afford a higher education.”

The plan caused a stir, even though it was a little short on the details. More information is expected in Obama’s State of the Union address.

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Doug Kerr / via Flickr

More than two-thirds of residents in Onondaga County live in one community and commute to another one to work each day.

The town of Otisco has the most mobile residents. Eighty-nine percent -- 89.3 percent, to be exact -- of them work in a different town. They also have the longest commute from their homes in the southwest corner of the county, at 29 minutes.

Spafford residents were a close second, with 88.8 percent of them also driving an average 29 minutes each morning and evening.

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Bacon Blamed For China's Smog Problem

Jan 19, 2015
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Raising awareness of North Country human trafficking

Jan 19, 2015
Julia Botero

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced new efforts to raise awareness about human trafficking in New York. It's an underground crime that traps men, women and children against their will. Many are forced to work hard labor without pay, or become prostitutes.  Last week, state experts on human trafficking spoke at a taping of a discussion on the topic at the WPBS studios in Watertown.  

As diplomats trickled out into a frigid Geneva Sunday evening, descriptions of the talks trickled out with them. Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Aragchi refused to characterize the progress made so far.

"It's too soon to say if we are able to make any progress or not," Aragchi said. "We are still trying to bridge the gaps between the two sides. We try our best, and as I have always said, as diplomats we are always hopeful."

China's delegation had a one-on-one with the Iranians and negotiator Wang Qun was more positive about the talks.

Sudipto Sarkar / Flickr

More central New Yorkers are apt to smoke cigarettes, than anywhere else in New York State. This comes at a time when most private health insurance plans, as well as Medicaid and Medicare cover smoking cessation strategies. So why the disconnect?  Experts say getting people to quit comes down to education.

According to the New York State Health Department, just over 22 percent of central New York adults smoke. The state smoking rate is 10 points below that.  

Inergy

The next fight in a long battle over storing liquefied petroleum gas along the western shore of Seneca Lake is an issues conference next month. Opponents to the facility are trying to get a seat at the table along with environmental officials and the gas company.

Storing the liquefied gas, or LPG in an expansive network of empty salt caverns along the southwestern shore of this finger lake was first proposed five years ago.

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Hundreds of spectators and government officials watched as music and fanfare filled the People's Palace in Conakry, Guinea. Cheerleaders danced vigorously, waving pompoms and twirling on stage. The festive event on Saturday kicked off the government's newest campaign: zero Ebola cases in 60 days.

"Guineans talk too much. People resist even the idea that Ebola exists," said the prime minister, Mohamed Said Fofana, when he took the stage. "Why do we refuse to accept what others have accepted? We really must get a grip on the situation."

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And NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson has been reporting on the challenges of a president beginning his seventh year in office.

Obama Proposes New Taxes On The Wealthy

Jan 19, 2015
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Research shows flexibility of human brain

Jan 16, 2015

Change is often hard. But new research shows that the human brain is much more flexible than once thought. This week on WRVO's health and wellness show "Take Care," hosts Lorraine Rapp and Linda Lowen speak with David DiSalvo, the author of the book "Brain Changer: How Harnessing Your Brain's Power to Adapt Can Change Your Life." DiSalvo says this discovery is one of the biggest coming out of neuroscience research in recent years.

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