Oneida County

Mohawk Valley Health System

Officials with the Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) say they are on schedule to break ground in downtown Utica next year for their new $480 million hospital. MVHS has gotten approval from the state to complete the hospital designs, and now has a pathway to use eminent domain so it can clear the way for the facility.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

Onondaga County filed a lawsuit in federal court Tuesday against pharmaceutical companies and others for their part in the continuing opioid crisis.

The county is accusing drug companies and distributors of painkillers made from opioids of downplaying the risks of those kinds of drugs that have fueled a nationwide epidemic of opioid addiction. Onondaga County in particular has been hit hard by the epidemic, with the number of opioid-related deaths tripling since 2012. 

County Executive Joanie Mahoney says the county bears a cost from this suffering on a couple of fronts.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

Some Oneida County public officials are doing damage control after a trove of their emails surfaced, revealing a long-running bias on a downtown hospital project in Utica.

Oneida County

Stating a concern for public health, Oneida County officials are prohibiting the use of tobacco and related devices on its property.

The wide-reaching policy will prohibit smoking and vaping outside of Oneida County buildings, inside county owned vehicles and even in privately owned vehicles that are being used for county purposes if there is more than one person in the car. Fines for violating the new law are punishable by up to $1,000.  

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego County is the latest New York county to file a lawsuit against drug manufacturers and distributors for the costs its incurred dealing with the opioid crisis.

In the lawsuit, Oswego County says it lost at least 67 residents to opioid-related overdoses between 2009 and 2014. And the number of emergency department admissions related to opioids in 2014 increased 113 percent from 2010.

It's financially strained Oswego County's government, including social services, the judicial system and law enforcement.

Mohawk Valley Health System

A public forum on the proposed new hospital in downtown Utica featured a very divided audience Thursday. The meeting that was intended to generate feedback about the hospital’s first design plans often devolved into arguments about whether the facility should even be built in that location.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

Oneida County is expanding a public private partnership with the Syracuse University College of Law that provides free legal services to veterans. The county is spending $150,000 to operate new offices in Utica and Rome for the next three years.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Some Utica residents are trying to resurrect the city's now defunct human relations commission. They say it's needed now at a time when divisiveness and incidences of hate crimes are on the rise.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oneida County is submitting its mandated consolidation plan to the state. The objective is to realize tax savings, but both those in favor and against the plan say it does not go far enough.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Once again, Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente is proposing a budget that does not raise property taxes, but it still calls for investments in several new initiatives.

Payne R Horning / WRVO News

Mohawk Valley Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford) was on the defensive for the majority of her first in-person town hall Tuesday night. More than 300 people attended the event that was hosted in the Oneida County town of Camden.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Heavy rains wreaked havoc on Oneida County about a month ago causing flash floods, power outages and destroying some homes. Gov. Andrew Cuomo visited one area on Tuesday to announce funding that may help prevent flooding in the future.

WhiteHouse.Gov

President Donald Trump hosted the owners of Oneida County's Sherrill Manufacturing at the White House Wednesday for a "Made in America" showcase. At a roundtable discussion with 20 small businesses, he praised the company's co-owner Gregg Owens for being the country's only remaining silverware manufacturer.

"What happened?" Trump asked.

"Well, everybody else went overseas chasing cheap labor," Owens said.

"That's terrible," Trump said. "I'm not surprised, but it is really somewhat surprising when you say the only. That's a hell of a statement."

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

New York state residents receive a five percent discount on Thruway tolls if they have an E-Z Pass. Last year, the New York State Thruway Authority decided to eliminate that discount for out-of-state drivers. Some state lawmakers want to see that new revenue go to local governments.

Payne Horning / WRVO News (file photo)

An attempt to get the U.S. military to buy utensils solely from an Oneida County factory, the only silverware manufacturer in the country, was unsuccessful, but Sherrill Manufacturing's CEO is optimistic about a meeting the company has at the White House this week.

Anthony J. Picente Jr. / Facebook

Oneida County officials say the area was submerged in as much as half a foot of rain over the weekend, and residents are still cleaning up. The worst of it came Saturday when 1.4 inches fell in just 40 minutes time.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The New York State Legislature is meeting today for a special session and that may provide lawmakers with an opportunity to prevent the closure of Vernon Downs. The owner of the Oneida County racino is hoping for some tax relief that the Legislature failed to pass before they adjourned last week.

Oneida County Executive's Office

Oneida County officials want to capitalize on the state's recent investments in a hospital and nano technology center in the Utica area. They say the key to developing Utica is building an arts, sports and entertainment district in the city's downtown.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

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. 

U.S. Census Bureau / Empire Center for Public Policy

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that New York's statewide population fell for the first time in a decade, largely a result of upstate population losses outpacing the gains made downstate.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

The joint effort between New York state and officials in Oneida County to recover from this week's massive snowstorm continue, but some lawmakers say the recovery was hampered by an inaccurate weather forecast that wasted precious time and resources.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Inside a factory near Oneida, a roll of flat, shiny steel slowly inches into a machine that cuts, imprints and bends the metal, spitting out two shells on the other end. Sherrill Manufacturing CEO Matt Roberts says the way this machine fuses those two halves to form the handle of a knife,  through a process called brazing, is one of a kind. But this machine is not the only unique thing about this factory.

Southern Arkansas University / Flickr

An allocation in Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposed budget could resolve a dispute over casino revenues in the Mohawk Valley. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Lawmakers from the Mohawk Valley are criticizing Gov. Andrew Cuomo for not visiting or even mentioning their area this week during his six State of the State addresses. They believe the snub comes at an especially tumultuous time for the region, where the economic recovery has been slower than in other areas of the state.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

For the fourth year in a row, the Oneida County Board of Legislators has passed a budget without an increase in the property tax levy. County officials say they are pleased about saving residents money, but they are also concerned about what the frugal approach could mean for Oneida County's financial future.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

On an overcast afternoon, a graduation ceremony is underway inside the Oneida County Jail, but instead of caps and gowns, the graduates are wearing bright orange jump suits. 

As the inmates glide to the front of the room, they are greeted with diplomas, smiles and piercing stares from several guards who watch their every move. These behavioral improvement courses and high school equivalency education programs at the jail are nothing new. Opening the graduation ceremonies to the media is. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Unofficial election results show a slight increase in turnout among New Yorkers this year as compared to 2012, but turnout in many northern and central New York counties decreased.

WRVO News/Bill Magee for Assembly

Voters in Madison, Otsego and Oneida Counties will once again face a choice between long-time Assemblyman Bill Magee and Republican John Salka. In 2014, Salka came the closest to unseating the 13-term incumbent in 20 years. 

Magee was first elected to the Assembly in 1990. He says he is proud of what he has achieved for the 121st District and New York farmers during that time. Magee attributes part of that success to the alliances he has developed with downstate Democrats.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente’s proposed 2017 budget was met with thunderous applause from the Oneida County Board of Legislators Wednesday. It calls for no increase in the county’s property tax rate for the fourth year in a row. Picente said while the county's taxpayers may praise him, this trend cannot continue. 

“For us in county government there are no more airports to sell, retirements to defer or Nation agreements to settle," Picente said.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

Officials in Madison County are urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign a law that would allow the state to share gaming revenue from the Yellow Brick Road Casino with the county. State law allows a portion of revenue the state gets from Native American run casino’s to be shared with the host county. Since the Yellow Brick Road Casino opened in Chittenango after the law was passed, it didn’t get in on the revenue sharing deal according to Madison County Board of Supervisors John Becker.

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