Charles Schumer

Tom Magnarelli/WRVO (file photo)

Sen. Charles Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand are welcoming the announcement today by the federal Department of Transportation for increased safety measures for rail cars that carry crude oil.

With more oil being shipped via train from the Bakken region in North Dakota and adjacent Canada to the East Coast, and more accidents involving those tanker cars, safety concerns have been growing.

Schumer told reporters today that he hopes the rules will be implemented as soon as possible.

Ellen Abbott

The Empire Brewing Company in Syracuse is planning an expansion that will let the brewpub create a new kind of farm-to-bottle brewing model.

The company is looking for $200,000 in federal funding to help with operation of a farm and construction of a bottling plant in Madison County. Sen. Charles Schumer says the funds would come from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which would be a good fit.

Less than two weeks ago, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) vowed to help attract a grocery store to Syracuse’s Armory Square neighborhood. Monday, he announced that the trendy organic grocer Whole Foods has returned his call.

“They are interested in Armory Square. And they are going to visit -- myself, the mayor and representatives of Whole Foods -- in the fall,” said the senator.

Schumer says one thing that has grabbed Whole Foods attention is that the only other store in upstate New York, in Albany, has exceeded its sales projections.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) says the chances are slim that undocumented children caught trying to cross the US-Mexican border illegally will be housed at Fort Drum.

The Army base is reportedly being considered to house hundreds of Central American immigrant children under a government program as soon as August

But Schumer says he’s spoken with officials at the Department of Health and Human Services:

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

As the number of people living downtown continues to grow, so does the need for a grocery store in the neighborhood. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., says he can help lure one to the central business district.

Schumer says the heads of major chains will listen to him. He's reaching out to a number of chains, like Tops and Whole Foods, to try to convince them to locate downtown.

Many officials and residents say that as the neighborhood become more residential, a place to buy groceries is needed.

Joseph Morris / Flickr

Poisonings from the liquid that is used in electronic cigarettes is on the rise in New York state. They come in flavors like bubble gum, mint chip and grape, but only one swallow of liquid nicotine can make a child very, very ill, according to Michelle Caliva, head of the Upstate New York Poison Center.

"E-cigarettes contain nicotine, and nicotine is toxic to children," Caliva said. "Whether it’s in the e-cigarette or a cigarette. If they ingest enough of it, they’re going to get sick."

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News file photo

With election season here, escaping the volley of political ads that are the hallmark of political campaigns will only get harder. In response, New York Democrat Charles Schumer is helping lead a fight in the Senate to force outside groups funding those ads to disclose their donors.

The Citizens United Supreme Court decision dismantled the campaign finance reform known as the McCain-Feingold Act. Wealthy donors, unions and corporations can now dump millions of dollars into political campaigns, seemingly in secret.

More federal money sought for rural bridges

Jun 19, 2014

Sen. Charles Schumer wants to add about $50 million to funding that comes to New York for upkeep and repair of rural bridges.

The federal government provides the state with $71 million a year right now to maintain the thousands of bridges that don’t fall under federal purview. That number is tied to a 2009 transportation bill.

There are efforts in Congress to continue to cap that amount through 2020. The Democrat says continuing to cap the fund will lead to further deterioration of rural bridges. 

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) is among those asking the Food and Drug Administration to clarify its guidelines on the use of wooden boards to age artisanal cheeses. He says cheese makers have been using wooden boards or panels to age their cheeses for centuries, and that changing the rules would put American producers at a disadvantage.

Schumer wants to increase number of doctors nationwide

Jun 5, 2014
Ellen Abbott / WRVO News file photo

Sen. Charles Schumer wants to increase the number of primary care physicians in the United States, particularly in rural areas like upstate New York.

Schumer says he is proposing a revised version of the "Resident Physician Shortage Act," which would increase the number of Medicare-supported physician residency slots by 15,000 over the next five years.


A new White House climate report paints a dire picture for New York if something drastic isn't done to address climate change, and the Obama administration is preparing to act without Congress.

The Third National Climate Assessment predicts dramatic changes in coastal states like New York. But the state’s junior Democratic senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, says upstate residents and businesses are at risk too.

Karen / via Flickr

Toxins that can cause blue-green algae outbreaks have been detected in 17 waterways in central New York, part of a state-wide increase that has prompted Sen. Charles Schumer to call for more monitoring.

Schumer, a Democrat, says the federal Environmental Protection Agency should better test for the runoff and toxins that cause algae outbreaks.

Blue-green algae can sicken people and pets who swim in contaminated waters and it can harm drinking water.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Federal food regulators are backing off of proposed changes to what craft brewers can do with the leftover grains from the beer making process.

Craft brewers in New York have said the proposal would hurt their businesses.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) had called for the Food and Drug Administration to abandon the change. He announced Thursday FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg agreed to revise the rule to avoid "unintended consequences" that would harm brewers and farmers.

Brewers provide spent grain to dairy farmers as a low-cost or free source of cow feed.

Cornell University’s state-of-the-art particle accelerator won’t face a loss of funding for the next few years at least. The National Science Foundation will spend $100 million to keep the synchrotron running.

Cornell’s High Energy Synchrotron Light Source, or CHESS, is one of only two of its kind in the United States. CHESS uses high intensity x-ray and radiation to test hypotheses in physics, biology, and chemistry.

The lab will now receive $100 million over the next five years.

Schumer says schools struggling to fund safety programs

Apr 15, 2014
Tom Magnarelli / WRVO

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) was at Fayetteville-Manlius High School Monday announcing an initiative to restore funding to school safety programs. Funding for the federal grants has declined by more than $100 million over the past four years.

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 News 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.

Olympics-bound Chobani yogurt stuck in customs

Feb 5, 2014
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.

Federal funding for ambulance services at risk

Dec 13, 2013

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.