Central New York

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.

Salvation Army's red kettle campaign kicks off

Nov 19, 2013
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?

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Biomedical researchers across central and western New York are getting a new piece of sophisticated machinery that will allow them to get a closer look at the way cells and proteins interact.

Officials announced a $2 million federal grant this week that will allow a consortium of six upstate colleges and universities to buy what's called an 800-megahertz nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer.  

The state comptroller says he’s looking for more start up companies and entrepreneurs to invest in, as part of a partnership between the state’s pension fund and private equity managers.

Maffei discusses upcoming presidential visit

Aug 15, 2013
Ryan Delaney / WRVO

President Obama will be in Buffalo, Syracuse and Binghamton next week to discuss his plan for reducing college costs, but Rep. Dan Maffei hopes the president makes a stop in Auburn, too.

The Syracuse City School District

Only about a third of New York state's third through eighth grade students met the new tougher standards from April's round of state mandated English and math tests. That's about half as many as last year, before the new Common Core Curriculum was adopted in the state. For an urban school district like the Syracuse City School District, scores were in the single digits. Syracuse Superintendent Sharon Contreras expected the test results to be bad.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Education was on the mind of Syracuse-area Cong. Dan Maffei this week at a roundtable involving teachers, parents and administrators, and he got the sense that the current federal education policy is not working in schools in central New York.  

Maffei spoke specifically on the Race to the Top program, which pits states against each other in order to get federal funds, and he had some issues with it.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

The first year of Destiny USA has been a boon to the tourism industry in central New York, according to tourism officials. David Holder, president of the Syracuse Convention and Visitors Bureau says hotel occupancy figures show a marked increase in visitors when the bureau promotes the mall/entertainment venue. He says the geographic origin of those visitors also tells the tale.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Now that the Emerald Ash Borer, or EAB, has been discovered in Onondaga County a special task force will begin making decisions about the future of ash trees, which account for 13 percent of the trees in central New York.

The EAB can kill an ash tree in as little as two years. Central New York Emerald Ash Borer Task Force member David Coburn says the result is that many trees will either be treated with pesticide or chopped down.

Boutique brands of liquor on the rise in New York

Jul 25, 2013
Eagle Beverage

"I had a lot of spare time on my hands, and this was just one of the many crazy ideas you come up with when you're trying to figure out what the heck you're going to do to make some money and make a living."

Two years ago, Brandon Bellinger was working for a now defunct racing team in North Carolina. Today, he's developed and created his own brand of top shelf tequila, called 21 Tequila, which he sells at local bars and liquor stores around Oswego County.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

On a muggy morning next to the American Steel and Aluminum Company in Liverpool, four people clad in orange vests look through binoculars at the vegetation that surrounds the warehouse.
         

Tourism Economics

According to new research, tourism spending rose across every region of New York state last year, with overall growth of more than six percent. Traveler spending reached a new high of nearly $60 billion statewide and upstate New York, in particular, did well.

The biggest areas for growth upstate were central New York, Niagara, and the Thousand Islands, with a bump of at least five percent in each region.

But Adam Sacks, lead author of the report and president of Tourism Economics, says the real indicator of the industry’s importance lies in job growth.

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