City of Syracuse

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Nine central New York law enforcement agencies are supporting Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) in his re-election bid. Katko, a freshman Republican, worked with many police professionals during the years he was a federal prosecutor in Syracuse. 

At Forman Park in Syracuse Monday, Katko said there are ways he would like to support law enforcement at a time when racial issues surrounding police officers are widely reported.

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It’s been a week since a federal corruption investigation exploded in New York state, bringing fraud and bribery and charges against developers and state officials for allegedly running a pay-to-play scheme involving upstate economic development projects.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo admits it’s been an emotional time for him personally because one of the accused, Joseph Percoco, is a former top aide and a longtime Cuomo family friend.

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The rejuvenation of Syracuse’s Inner Harbor could be a victim of a federal public corruption case that centers on economic development projects funded by the state across upstate New York. 

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Regardless of which option is chosen as the replacement of the Interstate 81 viaduct through downtown Syracuse, there are some common features in all the plans. The New York State Department of Transportation would expand I-81 north of the viaduct and add a new interchange. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

New federal floodplain maps will go into effect for Syracuse on November 4, and 1,600 affected homeowners will be required to have flood insurance. A New York State Department of Environmental Conservation report released in June shows that if some flood control options were implemented, some properties could be taken off the maps.

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The Syracuse City School District has launched an attendance initiative, urging the community and families to make sure children to go to school every day.

School officials estimate that, depending on the school, between 25 and 40 percent of students miss at least 18 to 20 days of classes a year in the district. That’s 10 percent of the total number of days in a given school year. Chief Academic Officer Linda Mulvey said it is the definition of chronic absenteeism.

Oliver Hine / via Flickr

Newly-released data from the U.S. Census Bureau finds that Syracuse is among the top 30 American cities for poverty rates, 29th to be exact. More than a third of its residents and nearly half of its children live below the federal poverty line.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

Syracuse University researchers are hoping an academic study of sustainable transportation can help convince state lawmakers to allow ride sharing services like Uber in upstate New York. 

The year-long study looks to identify alternatives to the way many people get around in upstate New York; one person driving a car. SU architecture professor Tarek Rakha, who’s leading the study, said that includes something New York state law currently doesn’t allow upstate -- ride sharing, through services like Uber or Lyft.

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New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul is leading a commission that will celebrate the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New York State next year. In advance of that, she’s holding roundtables around the state to talk about female empowerment.

Joining her in Syracuse Wednesday, powerful women from central New York with stories about how they pushed beyond the stereotypes and barriers that often keep women out of the board rooms and legislative chambers across the state. Hochul believes mentorship is one way that women who are successful already, can reach the younger generation.

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The new head of Syracuse’s Citizen Review Board calls a recent win in court against the Syracuse Police Department a positive precedent in how the review board operates. The new administrator has a history of working with the Syracuse police chief which he hopes will help both the police department and the review board move forward.

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The number of heroin and opioid overdoses continues to rise in central New York. According to the latest figures from the Onondaga County Medical Examiner’s Office, there have been 30 overdose deaths to date in 2016, compared with 52 all of last year.  The opioid epidemic is also starting to affect some of the agencies that deal with people addicted to heroin.

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Drivers that use Interstate 690 east to get to Syracuse from the western suburbs will need a little more time for their commute in the coming days. The New York State Department of Transportation is doing some major deck repairs just before the I-690 interchange with Interstate 81 (see maps below), which will shut down a stretch of road that 37,000 drivers use to get into the city of Syracuse every day.

There’s a roadmap now for any organization that wants to take on the task of connecting the broken portion of the statewide Erie Canalway Trail that centers on the Syracuse area. A 15- to 16-mile stretch between Camillus and DeWitt has always been one of the most problematic gaps for advocates trying to create a continuous 360-mile, multi-use trail that follows the historic Erie Canal. If the gap was connected, it would create the longest continuous intrastate multi-use trail in the nation.

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W-18, a new synthetic opioid, may be on the scene in central and northern New York. ACR Health prevention director Erin Bortel said several overdose deaths in the North Country have raised suspicions.

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The Syracuse City School Board unanimously voted for Jaime Alicea as the interim superintendent of the school district Wednesday night. Alicea has worked in the district for thirty three years, starting out as a kindergarten teacher’s assistant and moving up to most recently the district’s chief operations officer.

“It’s a great opportunity and it’s going to be a great role model for the kids in the district,” Alicea said. “They have to work hard and they will be able to realize their dreams.”

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State Sen. John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse) said a report released late last Friday only deepens his skepticism about Start-Up NY, the Cuomo administration’s economic development program that offers tax breaks to companies that set up shop in certain educational zones. A report on the multi-million dollar program was released three months late and showed just over 400 jobs were created in two years. Defrancisco said a lack of transparency about the program is one of the problems.

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Residents on Syracuse’s Near West Side are looking for ways to move forward after the Father’s Day shooting that involved a police officer and left one man dead. Events like the Celebration of Unity are bringing the community together to heal and address the issue of gun violence.

Rev. Regina Reese-Young was one of the speakers leading the audience in prayer at Skiddy Park where just down the street the shooting took place, like so many others throughout the city.  

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Syracuse City School District superintendent Sharon Contreras, who has led the district since 2011, has been hired as the superintendent of Guilford County Schools in Greensboro, North Carolina, and will take over that position in August. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News (file photo)

Aging homes, poverty and unemployment force too many central New Yorkers to live in housing that just isn’t safe according to the New York state attorney general’s office. So it’s giving Home HeadQuarters $1 million to create the Greater Syracuse Green and Healthy Homes Initiative.

Local governments and several agencies have signed a pact promising to support initiatives that will lead to healthy homes. Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner said one of the big issues will focus on potential lead poisoning from lead paint.

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The city of Syracuse is hoping to get more kids to the library this summer by forgiving overdue fines of cardholders 18 and younger who live in the city. Mayor Stephanie Miner said it’ll cost the city $7,000 this year.

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Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner has signed a Syracuse resident hiring ordinance into law. Officials have high hopes that this legislation can cut into the city’s high poverty rate.

The law will require contracts in excess of $100,000 dollars issued by the City of Syracuse, guarantee that at least 20 percent of the hours worked on a job will be done by city residents.

Miner signed her name to the legislation at Syracuse’s Southwest Community Center, saying these opportunities will go a long way in attacking poverty, and its side effects.

At the Oswego Common Council meeting Monday, Mayor Billy Barlow presented his plan for free public WiFi in the city's downtown. The young mayor called it an essential amenity to modernize the port city.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

As warm weather returns to the region, the last things on people’s minds are snowplows. The plows in the city of Syracuse received an upgrade this past winter that allows for more accountability.

GPS navigation tracking is now equipped on Syracuse’s plows and the commissioner of the Department of Public Works, Pete O’Connor, said they can now relay the information it gathers to residents.  

Ryan Delaney / WRVO News File Photo

As central New York waits for a decision on the future of the Interstate 81 viaduct through Syracuse, motorists will see road work on the current road in coming months. I-81 project director Mark Frechette calls it band-aiding -- maintenance work to be done this year on a stretch of I-81 that needs to be replaced.

"When you look at the interchange, just between 81 and 690, it has over a million square feet of deck area. So you don’t know where you’ll get a hole, or a beam will deteriorate, or an accident will knock down signage or a guard rail,” said Frechette.

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The city of Syracuse is filling more potholes than usual as it embarks on a more data-driven strategy to fixing crumbling streets.

"We have, since April, filled 3,260 potholes,” said Mayor Stephanie Miner.

She said what you can’t see during this process may be the most important: every time the DuroPatcher goes to work, a GPS-enabled device on the vehicle keeps track of where and when a pothole is filled.  

The Syracuse Police Department has had tensions with the city’s Citizen Review Board, as well as ongoing conflicts with the county district attorney’s office.  This week on the Campbell Conversations host Grant Reeher talks with Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler about those issues, as well as the national problem of police shootings of unarmed citizens and other police abuse—and the effect they have on police-community relations.  They also discuss the facts and the myths about crime in Syracuse.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

When Melissa Ives was recovering from a brutal motorcycle accident, the opioid medication she was prescribed helped mask the pain. But eventually, those pills ran out so she turned to a cheaper alternative - heroin.

Hearings will begin today at Syracuse’s Common Council on Mayor Stephanie Miner’s 2016-17 proposed budget. The budget is a mix of costs and revenues rising in some areas and shrinking in others.

“Government is always challenging, but no more so than today,” Miner said.

In a video and letter to the Common Council released with her proposed budget, Miner said Syracuse will face financial challenges in the year ahead. Her proposed budget faces a $12.1 million shortfall that will be balanced using reserve funds bringing the reserve total down to $42.9 million.

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After spending much of the last week in New York City, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is bringing his campaign to upstate New York this week, ahead of the state's primary April 19.

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Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner said there are too many unanswered questions about the proposed government merger between her city and Onondaga County. Miner weighed in on the Consensus CNY recommendations for the first time since they were revealed earlier this year, telling Onondaga County's Conservative Party over the weekend that she cannot definitively support or oppose the consolidation plan without more information.