Oneida County

Matt Martin / WSKG file photo

When Gov. Andrew Cuomo pitched his idea of opening up to four casinos in New York state, his goal was to create jobs in upstate New York. But a proposed Seneca County casino is ruffling feathers about 70 miles away in Oneida County.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Onondaga County says part of its jail overcrowding problem could be eased with a little help from New York State. Lawmakers are asking the state to make changes in a policy regarding state prisoners who’ve run afoul of their parole.

Right now, Onondaga County is forced to take state prisoners, who have violated parole, and keep them in the local jail while the justice system decides whether to send them back to state prison. County officials say that policy is squeezing an overcrowded county jail even more.  

@Maggie_Brooks / Twitter

The New York State Association of Counties has a new president and he hails from the Mohawk Valley.

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente was unanimously selected as the organization's next president, and will replace Steuben County Manager Mark Alger.

Picente says during his one-year tenure as president, he wants to address issues like unfunded mandates and help educate residents statewide about their county governments.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

Republican candidate for governor Rob Astorino has been traveling the state criticizing Gov. Andrew Cuomo's attempts to invest money in parts of New York to spur economic development. During a recent interview with Utica radio station WIBX, Astorino called the Mohawk Valley's $1.5 billion Nano Utica project "smoke and mirrors." Astorino also said the Mohawk Valley is not really experiencing an economic recovery.

Brian Turner / Flickr

Twenty-five family court judges will be added statewide by the end of 2015 to help reduce a backlog of cases and streamline the family court process. It's the first major addition of judges in New York in more than three decades.

Last year, there were more than 7,200 family court petitions filed in Oswego County, resulting in nearly 3,500 cases that needed to be handled by a judge. That equates to about 20 to 40 cases each day that are handled by either the county's elected family court judge, or another county judge as needed.

Verona cleaning up after tornado touches down

Jun 19, 2014
Provided by Fritz Scherz

The Oneida County town of Verona is still cleaning up after a tornado touched down and caused damage to homes, road signs, trees and businesses Tuesday night.

Town Councilman Fred "Fritz" Scherz lives only a few miles from where the tornado landed. He says he quickly reached out to the National Weather Service to survey the damages.

As the use of heroin surges, many people arrested for drug-related crimes are ending up in drug court, one of the so-called "problem solving courts" that have been started in recent years.

Every Thursday afternoon in the Oneida County Courthouse, the Judge John Balzano seems to be equal parts judge, guidance counselor and the leader of a support group.

This is drug court. Balzano dispenses justice here with an emphasis on rehabilitation.

The Oneida County Sheriff's Office is launching its new community affairs unit with hopes that it will continue providing positive contact between law enforcement and the county's residents. 

Sheriff Robert Maciol introduced the community affairs unit during his inaugural state of the county law enforcement address at Utica College earlier this week.

"I need a direct life line to the community of Oneida County. I mean we need the people of Oneida County just as much as they need us," he said.

Last week the Food and Drug Administration approved a prescription device that can inject a fast acting antidote to heroin and other opioid drugs. It’s the latest response to a surge in opioid abuse. Heroin use has doubled between 2007 and 2012, and it’s no longer just an urban street drug; it’s now common in small town America.

For almost 40 of his 54 years, Jerry Jones has done drugs.

"At an early age, started with pot, drinking," Jones said. "It wasn't long after that where I started using other drugs, cocaine, speed, acid. I've done every drug under the sun."

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

Syracuse has salt potatoes, Rochester has the garbage plate and Buffalo has the chicken wing. And for the Mohawk Valley, the iconic food has to be chicken riggies. The central New York pasta dish has become so popular it commands its own festival. Now, one Utica resident has entered the unique flavor of peppers, chicken, rigatoni and pink tomato sauce into a national contest.

The Oneida Improvement Committee has received a grant, which the organization says will help promote efforts to build an 11-mile multi-use trail network surrounding the city.

Committee member Patti Meakin says the $1,500 grant from Parks and Trails New York will be used to communicate with the public and solicit donations.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

Nestled in the rolling hills of southern Oneida County sits the Village of Bridgewater. To the average eye, it looks the part of most upstate villages, but come March, the village and its two centuries of history could dissolve into a thing of the past.

Gary Comstock has been mayor of Bridgewater since the 1990s, but because of financial struggles, he wants to dissolve the village. he says the time has never been better to merge with the surrounding town, especially following Gov. Andrew Cuomo's clarion call for streamlining state and local governments.
 

Cyberbullying has become a front and center issue for Oneida County in recent months. Now those online attacks are a punishable offense.

The newly enacted local law makes several forms of computer bullying illegal, including posting doctored images, creating a fake profile or website, and making online statements that are meant to immediately provoke another person.

Mohawk Valley homeowners to start receiving aid checks

Aug 29, 2013
Gino Geruntino / WRVO/File photo

Two months after heavy flooding ravaged the Mohawk Valley, homeowners in Oneida, Herkimer and Montgomery Counties are receiving checks to help them rebuild. Gov. Andrew Cuomo was in Herkimer and Oneida on Thursday to tell residents that checks are being sent out immediately.

"Today we're going to be issuing checks to 1,200 homeowners, renters and businesses, total of about $13.6 million," Cuomo said. "Five hundred fifty-eight people in Herkimer [County], 145 in Oneida, 104 in Montgomery will receive funding."

A yearling horse in the town of Vernon has tested positive for West Nile Encephalitis, despite the fact the county has not yet discovered the virus in any mosquito pools during its summer monitoring.

The horse eventually became paralyzed in its hind legs, but was treated by veterinarians and has shown improvement. Ken Fanelli, a spokesman with the Oneida County Health Department, says it can be difficult to keep horses from contracting West Nile Virus.

Daniel Robison/Innovation Trail

The governor is optimistic Oneida and Madison Counties will go along with the deal he struck last week with the Oneida Indian Nation over casino gambling. The state also reached a deal with St. Regis Mohawk leaders this week. The Seneca Nation is the remaining holdout tribe still in dispute with the state over gambling

Lance McCord / Flickr

The flu is making an early appearance across upstate New York this fall, from the North Country through the Mohawk Valley. With the holiday season approaching, experts say it becomes more important than ever to take precautions.

The use of synthetic drugs like bath salts became a growing health and law enforcement problem in upstate New York this summer.  Wednesday, the public had a chance to learn more about this latest trend in drug abuse at a forum in Utica.

It's a quiet primary day in Central New York this year.  There are only scattered elections across the area on the day that lets voters, registered in political parties, choose who will be on the November ballot.

There is a difference of up to 33 years of life expectancy depending on where you live in Central New York and there is no simple answer to creating equal health for all.

Economics, race and gender all figure into these health disparities but technology could play a major part in closing the healthcare gap found between many Americans.