Charles Schumer

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

For some people living in central and northern New York, this past winter wasn’t just cold and snowy, it was expensive too. The higher electric rates many customers were saddled with even prompted Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) to call for a federal investigation last week into whether or not consumers were being unfairly overcharged.

While at the 10th Annual Symposium on Energy in East Syracuse Ken Daly, president of National Grid New York, said that he shares the pain that many consumers felt when they received their bills during the coldest parts of the season.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO/file photo

In response to what he calls "mind-boggling" rate increases for electricity this winter, Sen. Charles Schumer is asking two federal agencies to determine if customers were overcharged. Schumer says he wants the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to investigate the wholesale electric and gas markets to make sure there wasn't price gouging.

"The FTC is the premier consumer regulator when consumers are ripped off," Schumer said. "FERC would look at wholesale rates and things like that, relationships between the different parts of the grid."

fishhawk / Flickr

Sen. Charles Schumer is calling on the United States Department of Agriculture to help dairy farmers in central New York sort through the recently passed Farm Bill. During a stop in Chenango County recently, Schumer said the updated milk portion of the bill is good for farmers, but confusing.

Schumer vows to fight troop reduction at Fort Drum

Mar 20, 2014
David Sommerstein / NCPR

New York Sen. Chuck Schumer says he’s not afraid to use his political might to protect Fort Drum from cuts to the military budget. Schumer held a press conference at Watertown City Hall Wednesday as the Pentagon prepares to axe up to 100,000 Army troops.

The possibility of an Army downsizing to 1940s levels is fraying nerves in military communities nationwide. But on Monday, concern deepened. The Army circulated a sort of worst-case scenario report – and it included assessing the loss of nearly 90 percent of the troops stationed at Fort Drum.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer is hoping to use his influence to expedite delivery of a sterilization product used by hospitals. The senator was called by central New York hospitals to help deal with the shortage of the material used to sterilize equipment used in surgery.

As the search continues for a missing Malaysian Airlines plane, Sen. Charles Schumer is proposing legislation that would close what he calls a "major gap" in airline security, exposed because of the incident.   
Schumer notes that two passengers on the plane got on board using stolen passports, apparently very easily. And he says most countries don’t require airlines to check the Interpol database to see if passports are stolen.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

With heroin abuse raging among young adults and in rural communities, New York's senior senator is calling for a new state-wide database to be created so local law enforcement agencies can better track the drug's use.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., says a database for heroin hospitalizations and arrests would be the first in the nation. 

"The problem is that the increase in heroin abuse - it was going down for a long time, now it’s going up - so we have to catch up," Schumer told reporters Wednesday.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

This winter’s cold temperatures are creating tough survival conditions for honeybees. Come spring, the bees will be relied on to pollinate upstate New York apple, cherry, and other fruit trees.

Mike Martino began the winter with a hundred bee colonies on his Honey Hill apple orchard in Chittenango. He estimates he’ll lose about 30 colonies by spring time. He’s hoping the prolonged frigid temperatures of the past few months don’t kill off more.

Despite the national "do not call" list, the number of telemarketer violations has tripled in New York state.

Sen. Charles Schumer says that likely has to do with companies using computer-generated robocalls to target households.

Schumer has introduced a new bill, called the QUIET Act, that he says will strengthen penalties against companies that violate the rules. He says new technology is allowing robocallers to skirt the current laws.

"The robocall industry is blatantly ignoring federal laws, so we have to fight fire with fire," Schumer said.

messycupcakes / Flickr

A shipment of Chobani Greek yogurt bound for the Olympics is still stuck in customs at a New Jersey airport.

The upstate New York yogurt maker is a sponsor of the U.S. Olympic team. The yogurt is supposed to feed American athletes competing at the winter games in Sochi, Russia.

New York Sen. Charles Schumer has urged the Russian ambassador to the United States to let the yogurt leave the country.

Ian Lamont / Flickr

New York Sen. Charles Schumer says it’s “a good day” for upstate New York farmers now that there is a deal in the House of Representatives and Senate for a Farm Bill.

Congress is expected to begin voting on the bill later today. The five year farm bill, agreed upon in committees on Monday, reduces crop subsidies and increases crop insurance.

Farm Bills were first written during the Great Depression. This latest one took two years of negotiation.

Schumer, a Democrat, says the bill is especially good for small dairy farmers and maple sugar tappers in New York.

Port of Oswego receives new equipment

Jan 23, 2014
Gino Geruntino / WRVO

Sen. Charles Schumer was in Oswego Wednesday to announce that the city's port has received some much needed equipment.

Schumer helped port officials secure a new container reach stacker, along with a dump truck and two generators from the federal government's surplus equipment program. He says the reach stacker will help the port be more efficient and save money.

Erin Gardner

With New Yorkers dealing with an extremely cold start to the new year, Sen. Charles Schumer is calling for more federal heating aid to be made available.

Schools and businesses throughout northern New York were closed Tuesday and Wednesday, after storms dropped nearly three feet of snow in Watertown and the surrounding towns. The heavy snowfall was accompanied by wind chill temperatures that approached -30 degrees.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Public water departments have been saved from being required to scrap thousands of brand new fire hydrants.

Congress has passed legislation that will exempt hydrants from stricter federal rules about lead in plumbing. The Senate passed the bill last night and the House version had already been approved.

Under the Environmental Protection Agency's new lead in drinking water rules that were set to go into effect in January, hydrants as they’re made now would be deemed unusable because they contain too high of an amount of lead.

Ambulance services throughout New York state are at risk of losing millions of dollars in federal reimbursements as a plan is set to expire without congressional action.

Ambulances get paid by Medicaid and Medicare less than it costs to respond to emergencies from patients on those insurance plans, but one-year programs by Congress have boosted those rates. The Senate Finance Committee has approved a longer-term extension on reimbursements. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., says he wants a five-year guarantee.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

A new dairy processing facility under construction in Cayuga County plans to make most of its money on the export market and its owners are hoping trade rule changes don’t hinder that.

An $80 million dairy facility going up in Auburn plans to sell powdered milk to countries in Asia and North Africa, but current trade rules with some of those countries could make exporting their products difficult.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

New York's U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer wants the investigation into the crash of an Air National Guard unmanned drone to be made public.

The Air Force is investigation the crash of an MQ-9 Reaper into Lake Ontario last month while on a training flight with the 174th Air Guard Wing, based out of Syracuse. Training flights resumed two weeks after the incident.

Schumer, a Democrat, says that's alright since most drones are safe.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Water authorities are in danger of having to scrap thousands of brand new fire hydrants if a new federal environmental requirement is allowed to go through as written.

The Onondaga County Water Authority keeps a stockpile of 200 fire hydrants on hand to replace broken or damaged ones. They cost $1,200 each.

The EPA is lowering the amount of lead that can be in things that touch drinking water, like sink faucets, but it could also render local water authority's stockpile of hydrants useless.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer is throwing his weight behind a Syracuse hospital's plan that could ultimately save taxpayers $1 million. Saint Joseph’s Hospital is trying to get a federal grant that will help pay for a system meant to streamline care for Medicare patients.

Probably the most interesting part of the plan is the ability for hospital staff to tele-monitor a patient who’s at home, says Schumer.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO/file photo

Sen. Charles Schumer says he is glad President Barack Obama is keeping his promise to Americans by allowing them to keep insurance plans that would have been canceled for an extra year. The president announced yesterday that even if insurances plans do not comply with the Affordable Care Act, policyholders are now able to keep those plans through 2014.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer wants to integrate the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs health records to reduce benefit backlogs and save money.

Schumer is proposing a two-part plan, the first aimed at creating a compatible health record system between the two departments.

Kate O'Connell/Innovation Trail

Sen. Charles Schumer says lifting a ban on the U.S. Postal Service shipping alcohol will help both the struggling postal carrier and New York’s growing beer and wine industry.

Private carriers like UPS and Fed-Ex can deliver mail-order alcohol. Schumer, a Democrat from New York, is pushing for the USPS to be able to do the same. The ban against it transporting alcohol dates back to Prohibition.

"It will be a way for consumers far and wide to order their favorite New York beers and wines and get hold of them." Schumer said in a conference call with reporters Wednesday. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer is firing another salvo in the war against prescription drug abuse. He's proposing that the Drug Enforcement Administration ease restrictions that make it harder for pharmacies to let people bring in controlled substances for disposal.

It's a problem that's getting worse in upstate New York, according to Michelle Caliva, director of the Upstate Poison Control Center. She's looked at the number of calls involving abuse of prescription pain killers over the last decade.

Ashley Hirtzel/WBFO

Sen. Charles Schumer and a group of lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives are pushing a bill that would lower the federal tax on hard apple cider. New York is the second largest apple grower in the nation, and the idea behind the bill is to give another source of income for small apple growers.

At LynOaken Farms in Medina, General Manager Darrell Oakes explains there are roughly 300 varieties of apples in the self-harvest section.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Sen. Charles Schumer is calling for more coordination between police and Veterans Affairs medical centers to treat veterans with mental health problems.

Schumer, a Democrat from New York, wants the VA to investigate its handling of mentally ill veterans in the wake of a veteran’s shooting spree. Police say Navy veteran Aaron Alexis killed 12 people on a base in Washington D.C. last week.

Schumer says ineffective communication between police and military allowed Alexis to not be treated.

New York Senator Chuck Schumer called yesterday's shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington D.C. "tragic." He also touched on a common theme of the recent gun control debate- mental health.

"So I think we have to look at that very carefully, without pre-judging what happened in D.C.," Schumer said. "But certainly, it needs a careful look. These things are occurring much too frequently."

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

New York's senior senator, Charles Schumer, has formally joined the lobbying effort to see that upstate New York becomes a federally designated drone testing site.

As Congress begins to debate a resolution to authorize United States military action in Syria, members of the New York congressional delegation are expressing their opinion publicly about what should be done.

Rep. Tom Reed, a Republican who represents parts of the Finger Lakes and Souther Tier regions, has been conducting a listening tour in his district to gather opinions from his constituents.

Obama to make a stop in Syracuse

Aug 14, 2013
whitehouse.gov

The White House has confirmed that President Barack Obama will travel to Syracuse next week as part of a two-day bus tour to lay out his plan for reducing college costs.The president will also stop in Buffalo, Binghamton and northeastern Pennsylvania.

Tom Magnarelli/WRVO

Sen. Charles Schumer is calling on the Department of Transportation to retrofit or phase out a specific type of railway car that carries crude oil and ethanol. The DOT-111 is the same kind of tank car as those that derailed and exploded in July in a small town in Quebec, killing 47 people and destroying 40 buildings.

Schumer spoke in front of a rail bridge near Armory Square in downtown Syracuse on Tuesday, where he says around 200 cars of oil and 100 cars of ethanol pass by everyday due to an increase in domestic energy production in the U.S.

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