Central New York

Nick Harris / Flickr

The Salvation Army's annual red kettle campaign is in full swing, but the non-profit is concerned that it might not be able to reach this year's fundraising goal.

According to Maj. Donald Hostetler, division commander of the Empire State Division of the Salvation Army, this year's holiday season goal might be harder to achieve than in year's past. That's because there aren't enough volunteers willing to bundle up and staff kettles to collect donations.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

If you have old cell phones that you need to get rid of this holiday season, state Sen. John DeFrancisco has a place for them. DeFrancisco's seventh annual Cell Phones for Soldiers collection drive has commenced.   

L.t Col. Paul Jackson, currently of the Syracuse Recruiting Battalion, was deployed in Afghanistan this time last year. Free calling cards were his lifeline to family and friends back home.

Ryan Delaney | John Katko for Congress

Dan Maffei has conceded in the race for the 24th Congressional District. Republican John Katko wins.

New Channel 9 WSYR

Democrat Dan Maffei and Republican John Katko met for their sixth and final debate of a race that has been contentious and full of attacks.

The News Channel 9 debate Sunday night saw both candidates make accusations, beginning with the race's many negative campaign ads and the fundraising needed to pay for them. The moderator asked both candidates whether or not they would need to answer to those who donated to their campaigns from outside the 24th Congressional District.

Katko pointed out that Maffei has had more money to spend in this race.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Heading into the last weekend before election day, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is crossing upstate New York encouraging Democrats to get out the vote. His first stop was a rally in Syracuse.

"We vote, we win," Cuomo said. "We vote when we work and we knock on doors and we make phone calls... We do it 24 hours a day and we out work the other side."

Onondaga Community College hopes to close a skills gap in the local agribusiness and food industry sectors of the economy.

According to OCC President Casey Crabill, she estimates there are 2,400 openings in this field every year in central New York.

“It’s a growing field," Crabill said. "It was cited in our region's economic development plan as a field for the future. I think that’s part of the reason our grant was successful, is that we are very tied in to a lot of community efforts tied into this industry already.”

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

There are still children being treated at the Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital in Syracuse for symptoms of a respiratory virus that’s hospitalized hundreds of children across the country. But the numbers of suspected cases of Enterovirus D-68 has leveled off.

It was just a few weeks ago that the pediatric emergency room at Upstate was jammed with families worried that their children had come down with the enterovirus that’s swept across the country. Pediatrician Jana Shaw says things are considerably calmer now.

Daniel Paquet / Flickr

It's that time of year when experts recommend getting a flu shot, but many central New Yorkers aren't getting that message.

A larger percentage of central New Yorkers get vaccine preventable diseases like the flu than in any other part of upstate New York, according to state Health Department numbers compiled by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. Regional President Dr. Arthur Vercillo says that mirrors the number of people getting flu shots.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

The issue of central New York Congressman Dan Maffei's connections to Washington, D.C. has once again come up as a campaign issue. But it's the mention of his wife and newborn daughter that has the Democrat steaming.

Maffei called a news conference Wednesday, telling reporters that Republican candidate John Katko crossed the line when mentioning the fact that Maffei’s wife works in Washington, D.C, and his baby was born in a Washington, D.C. area hospital earlier this summer

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Rep. Dan Maffei (D-Syracuse) has put together a wide-ranging program that would invest in central New York’s infrastructure, ranging from fixing crumbling roads and bridges to bringing high speed rail to the area. He says there has to be a mindset change in Washington for this to happen.

With an aging population, elder abuse is becoming more prevalent across the country and in central New York. Financial abuse has become one of the most common ways people take advantage of older Americans.

Jenny Hicks runs a program out of Vera House in Syracuse that focuses on elder abuse, and says there’s a kind of déjà vu in an agency that for years has counseled victims of domestic violence.

“It’s very much like domestic violence was 35 years ago -- in the shadows," Hicks said. "People are just now starting to talk about elder abuse.”

A recent survey shows that people in central New York region want to take part in arts and cultural events, but often don’t know about them. That's spurring the group CNY Arts to find ways to solve that problem.

Two survivors of child sexual abuse are urging central New Yorkers to take part in a program that aims to prevent abuse, by arming bystanders with information.

Dan Leonard’s story of child abuse goes back to when he was 11 years old and a football coach began abusing him. And Leonard says he wasn't the only victim.

“He abused hundreds of kids over the years. Anyone attached to that football program knew what was going on or should have suspected it.  Nobody, all those years, all those kids, nobody said anything,” Leonard said.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

Syracuse has salt potatoes, Rochester has the garbage plate and Buffalo has the chicken wing. And for the Mohawk Valley, the iconic food has to be chicken riggies. The central New York pasta dish has become so popular it commands its own festival. Now, one Utica resident has entered the unique flavor of peppers, chicken, rigatoni and pink tomato sauce into a national contest.

Vancouver Film School / Flickr

A futuristic movie called “The Opium War” will be the first feature film produced through the Central New York Hub for Emerging Nano Industries in DeWitt. A seven to eight week shooting schedule will start by the end of summer.

Film House Chief Operating Officer Michael Haggerty has already been in the Syracuse area scouting locations for the film, which he says is "about a female astronaut who crash lands and is offered a smuggling job that will pay for her ship's repairs.”

National Weather Service

Spring is just over a week away, but winter storm warnings are in effect for most of central and northern New York from early Wednesday morning until early Thursday, as a large winter storm is expected to sweep through the area Wednesday afternoon into Thursday. 

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

Potholes aren't anything new for upstate New York drivers, but the sheer number of them this year is wreaking more havoc than usual.

Steve Pacer, with AAA of Western and Central New York, says calls to their roadside service because of pothole-caused flat tires have increased this year. Other weather related problems like dead batteries and cars stuck in snow banks have also increased this winter.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

There’s a handful of machines in this corner of the massive Intertek testing facility in Cortland. They’re all designed to make sure solar energy panels can withstand being outside for decades, enduring rain, snow and even hail.

Rick Lewandowski, the executive director of the Center for Clean Energy Technology, shows an older solar panel that didn’t pass their test.

Cold weather grips central, northern New York

Jan 2, 2014
Loren Sztajer / Flickr

Much of central New York is under a winter storm warning until tomorrow morning. Snow will fall heavily at times around the region, with the heaviest of the snow falling from Syracuse south. Six to 12 inches of snow is possible around central New York by tomorrow with lesser amounts to the north.

In addition to the snow, the region will be facing bitterly cold temperatures. Wind chill advisories are posted for the region through tomorrow morning.

Tom Blackwell / Flickr

Bringing broadband Internet access to rural central New York is on the list of items that Syracuse-area Rep. Dan Maffei says he would like to get done. Maffei, a Democrat, says the move to bring broadband to the area isn't just about having a faster connection to do Google searches, but building sustainable economic and informational growth.

ALIGN

New York state’s economic development programs lack transparency and accountability at a regional level, according to a new report released Monday by the left-leaning Alliance for a Greater New York (ALIGN).

Central New York Community Foundation

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday focus on spending for holiday gifts, a burgeoning movement is hoping to create that same kind of fervor when it comes to making charitable donations. Tomorrow has been dubbed Giving Tuesday in the world of non-profits.

Matt Seubert, Development Director of Enable and Transitional Living Services in Syracuse had never heard of Giving Tuesday when it started last year.

Stop I-81 Pipeline Group

Homeowners along an abandoned gas line across three central New York counties are getting advice about how to deal with gas companies who may come knocking.

The Millennium Pipeline Company is trying to get federal approval to build a 60-mile pipeline from the town of Onondaga down to the Binghamton area in order to connect several east-west natural gas pipelines. In order to do this, the pipeline company, which is an affiliate of National Grid among other energy companies, will need the help of homeowners.

Nick Harris / Flickr

The iconic red kettles and ringing bells are back, as volunteers for the Salvation Army embark on the organization's annual Christmas fundraising campaign. Maj. Don Hostetler, commander of the Salvation Army's Empire State Division, says each year the kettles fill up with change and dollars, which go right back to helping those in the community.

Move Along Incorporated

Advocates for the disabled in central New York want to encourage more participation in inclusion sports.  

Greg Cullen, founder of the group Move Along Inc., said the idea is that people with physical limitations and able-bodied people can play sports together.

"You really get confidence," Cullen said. "You then are willing to engage or approach other individuals, that typically, maybe before you had an awkwardness or a fear of doing. And these types of activities can increase that confidence, so these people can continue to engage."  

There’s less than a month until the Dec. 7 deadline, when Medicare’s open enrollment period ends.

Blaine Longnecker, a sales consultant out of Syracuse’s Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield office, said seniors eligible for the federal health insurance program who are looking to change their plan shouldn't bide their time.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

A coalition of local organizations is urging parents to keep their baby's crib clear of clutter. It's the core message of the Safe Sleep campaign, spearheaded by Safe Kids Upstate New York, out of Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital.  

Clemencia Molina, regional coordinator of the Central New York Sudden Infant and Child Death Resource Center, said it's common to see a child's crib filled with stuffed animals, blankets and pillows.

Credit USACE Europe District / via Flickr

Onondaga County Health Commissioner Dr. Cynthia Morrow said there are signs that the flu season is upon us. Morrow said there is one laboratory confirmed case of the flu in Onondaga County, and she's hearing reports from doctors offices about unconfirmed cases.  

Morrow said it's a good time for central New Yorkers to get their flu vaccine. She also said this year's vaccine may offer more protection than those in the past, which targeted three flu strains.

Onondaga County is making massive changes to the part of its bureaucracy that helps families and individuals in need. The recently passed county budget reshuffles the traditional way residents have been getting services for years.

Onondaga County lawmakers vote this week on the proposed $122 million 2014 budget. The spending plan includes a slight decrease in the tax rate along with some spending cuts. One additional fund that's being proposed in the budget is a pot of money that would be available for economic development projects.

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney has seen it before in central New York; economic development projects die because they can't get those last final dollars in place. So what does she the propose in order to correct the problem?

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