City of Syracuse

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A Planned Parenthood clinic in Syracuse is taking part in a national campaign to bring awareness to the organization as its federal funding remains uncertain. Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner showed her support and took some jabs at congressional Republicans.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

A vote this week to give the Syracuse Police Department $1.6 million for new vehicles became a lightning rod for a bigger issue. Some Syracuse Common Councilors say various spending items should be delayed because of the financial health of the city.

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All nine Syracuse mayoral candidates participated in a forum this week. It was a crowded stage that produced a wide range of different answers.

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Residents in some eastside Syracuse neighborhoods and the town of DeWitt agree that something should be done about a burgeoning deer population. Those are the findings of a survey conducted by Assemblywoman Pam Hunter.

The next step is finding out just how many deer are out there, and what can be done to put a dent in the herd. Research wildlife biologist Brian Underwood says it starts by counting deer in some neighborhoods in the eastside of Syracuse, and going on from there.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The Greater Syracuse Land Bank celebrated its fifth birthday this week with a bus trip to show off some of it’s success stories.  

Land bank officials and others visited demolition sights, a community garden and renovated rental housing, like Sam Reppi’s conversion of a dilapidated building on Burnet Avenue into apartments and a storefront business.

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Ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft will be allowed to operate in upstate New York starting June 29th. But some in Syracuse want the city to opt out. 

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The residential growth in downtown Syracuse shows no sign of slowing down, with the newest property almost filled.

When Blue Cross/Blue Shield moved it’s offices to the suburbs in 2008, it left a gaping hole in downtown Syracuse. The Warren Street complex actually is made up of four buildings, and that’s what Graziano Zazzara has repurposed into dozens of luxury apartments.

"We opened up four months ago, started renting apartments, and we have one left out of 89," Zazzara said. 

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Progress is mixed on some redevelopment projects in downtown Syracuse. The Redhouse Arts Center is moving forward with construction in the old Sibley’s department store as part of a larger restoration of the building.

Workers are closing off a wall with cinder block tiles in what will be the Redhouse’s new 350-seat main stage theater in what used to be the Sibley’s warehouse. A concrete ceiling was cut out to raise the room’s height to 25 feet so rigging equipment can drop in set pieces.

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Across the country it is LGBTQ pride month and members of the community are celebrating in Syracuse this week. It comes at a time when some in the gay, lesbian and transgender community remain vigilant and are remembering a tragic anniversary.

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The city of Syracuse is looking for public input regarding a new proposed telecommunications ordinance. It could mean stronger cell phone connections for certain customers.

Barton & Loguidice

The city of Syracuse’s downtown civic strip includes cultural assets such as the War Memorial, Oncenter and Civic Center. Onondaga County is planning some transportation and cosmetic improvements to the area.

The project is being spearheaded by the county and Syracuse University to link the civic strip to the Connective Corridor, a series of improvement projects bridging the university to downtown Syracuse.

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It's another wet week in much of central and northern New York, offering no relief to those experiencing flooding along Lake Ontario and in the area.

The National Weather Service says rainfall in the region is several inches above average this year, for the month of May especially. Last month was the second-wettest May on record for the Watertown area and the third-wettest in the Syracuse area.

But National Weather Service meteorologist Steve Welch says that's not the main cause of the flooding many communities in the region are experiencing.

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Syracuse City Hall is fine tuning an open data policy, after a two-week public comment period.

The policy is expected to launch later this month, and offers residents an easy way to access to public information involving the work of city government. Mayor Stephanie Miner says so far, the city has gotten good feedback about the proposed policy.

Tom Magnarelli

The Syracuse Common Council has passed a budget that includes some controversial changes to what Mayor Stephanie Miner had proposed. Miner said she will veto the changes.

The council has cut overtime from Syracuse’s fire and police departments by $1 million each. But Councilor Steven Thompson said the money cut for police overtime has been shifted to hire new officers.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

The Green Party’s Howie Hawkins is officially in the race for mayor of Syracuse. 

Hawkins last ran for the office 12 years ago, on a “Sustainable Syracuse” platform. He’s retrofitting that same slogan for 2017. 

“What I’m talking with sustainability -- and this is the vision we want to go in the next four to eight years -- is a city that has a sustainable prosperity," Hawkins said. "Sustainable fiscally, economically and ecologically.”

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The Syracuse City School District is asking for $10 million less than what it initially requested for the next fiscal year. This comes after New York state decided which additional aid requests it would grant and which ones it would reject from the district.

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Dozens of alleged members of one of Syracuse’s most notorious gangs are off the street following Operation Bricktown, the first series of arrests in an initiative from the New York state attorney general’s office to get drugs off the streets.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman came to Syracuse Thursday to announce the arrest of more than 50 individuals with 370 crimes, ranging from drug dealing to murder conspiracy charges. Many of the individuals are allegedly members of the Bricktown Gang.

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A deficit of more than $18 million currently exists in the proposed budget of the city of Syracuse. About $13 million dollars is being allocated in overtime to the police and fire departments. Some councilors say the way to reduce overtime is to hire more staff.

Syracuse Fire Chief Paul Linnertz said the department has 28 firefighters in training.

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Democrats in upstate New York say they may be down from the losses they suffered in the 2016 election, but not out. Party officials hope the pushback to the Republican administration in Washington, D.C., will sweep local Democrats to victory later this year. 

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Four diverse Democratic candidates are competing for a diverse, open district council seat in Syracuse. The district encompasses Syracuse University, a burgeoning downtown and some of the highest concentrations of poverty in the city.  

The candidates are all close in age, ranging from 29 to 31, but they are all bringing something different to the race. Jeremy DeChario runs a food cooperative in the Westcott neighborhood.

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Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner’s proposed budget includes increases to schools and police, but also an $18.5 million deficit. Miner said the city’s fiscal problems are similar to what other upstate municipalities face.

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The city of Syracuse received a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice last year to develop a pilot police body camera program. But the program still has not been implemented.

The issue is what kind of policy the Syracuse Police Department will have for their body camera program. First Deputy Chief Joe Cecile said their policy was ready to go when new guidelines from the federal government and the American Civil Liberties Union made police go back to the drawing board and change it.

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Syracuse’s Youth Council, a group of young people learning how the city’s government works, sat in on their first Common Council meeting in March. The youth council is expected to recommend topics the Common Council should take action on.

Allana Moore is a freshman at the Public Service Leadership Academy at Fowler High School in Syracuse. She said she joined the Youth Council because the problems in the city are critical. She lives on the west side of Syracuse and said she has seen a lot of violence in her area.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Law enforcement was forever changed after a police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri in August 2014. There are lessons to be learned from the incident, according to the police chief who played a role restoring peace after the police shooting of Michael Brown and the violence that followed.

At a seminar in Syracuse, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar told police public safety leaders from across New York state that relationships between police and the community are key to keeping the peace in case something like Ferguson happens.

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Sean Kirst's stories about the people of Syracuse and the trials and tribulations of the area were a beloved feature of the local newspaper, and are still missed. Kirst has a new book out based on those columns, The Soul of Central New York. This week, Grant Reeher talks with Kirst to talk about the book, the news media and some of the challenges the city of Syracuse is facing.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Construction will begin soon on Syracuse’s Near West Side to create OnTECH, a charter school targeted towards helping refugees and at-risk students get their high school diplomas.

OnTECH founder Ellen Eagen describes the mission of the school as “dovetailing this child who’s on the cusp of falling off of the educational pipeline with an employable skill set and with this idea of reengaging them with their curiosity in education.”

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The Greater Syracuse Land Bank is once again a top earner of grant funding from the office of the New York state attorney general. The funding is awarded from mortgage settlements the attorney general’s office made with big banks after the housing crisis.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The New York State Fair will be a little friendlier for young families this year. Suggestions from fairgoers submitted in recent years have complained about the lack of areas for families to tend to their children.

Acting director of the fair Troy Waffner says that's why they have constructed new baby care centers that will offer privacy for nursing mothers and a place for families to change diapers in an air-conditioned and safe environment. 

business.syrgov.net

The city of Syracuse has developed a business web portal that allows users to access information to start or grow their businesses. The database application is meant to spur economic development in small businesses.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick has joined other law enforcement officials across the state in recent days who are criticizing "raise the age" legislation that’s being debated in Albany.

Raise the age would take 16- and 17-year-olds accused of certain crimes out of the adult justice system and into family court. Advocates say dumping teens into the adult criminal justice system makes it much harder for them to get their life back on track.

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