Onondaga County

3:03pm

Wed July 9, 2014
Entertainment

Onondaga County to unveil plans for amphitheater in Solvay

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney says the public will be surprised by how far the project has come so far.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

Just about six months ago, Gov. Andrew Cuomo came to central New York to announce that the state would chip in $30 million for a multi-million dollar plan to revitalize the western lakeshore of Onondaga Lake, including the village of Solvay. Today, Onondaga County is ready to share with the public detailed plans about what this development entails.

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9:08am

Mon July 7, 2014
Regional Coverage

Miner calls for increased broadband access in Syracuse

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner says the city can't have a modern economy without access to high-speed Internet and strong phone service.

Miner has recently called for better broadband in Syracuse, and has signed a petition to the state's Public Service Commission asking for an investigation into broadband's rollout in the state.

"And what I have seen firsthand is a number of businesses who said they wanted to locate to Syracuse, or expand in Syracuse, but couldn't because of a lack of access to affordable broadband or telecommunications," Miner said.

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6:23am

Fri June 27, 2014
Business

Restaurants consider forming association to combat Destiny USA tax breaks

Restaurant owners meet in Syracuse to discuss ways to combat Destiny USA's tax breaks.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

Independent restaurants in central New York are hoping to fight what they call an uneven playing field when it comes to Destiny USA. Many restaurants say they’ve lost business since the mega-mall expanded a few years ago with the help of a tax deal with the city of Syracuse.

Denis Sick, of Mohegan Manor in Baldwinsville, has seen business fall 30 to 40 percent since December a year ago, and puts the blame squarely on competition from Destiny’s chain restaurants.

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5:53am

Thu June 12, 2014
Business

Public can soon comment on Solvay amphitheater project along Onondaga Lake

Gov. Andrew Cuomo discusses Onondaga Lake redevelopment in Solvay, N.Y. during an announcement in January. (file photo)
Ryan Delaney WRVO

This summer, environmental questions will be heard surrounding the construction of a new amphitheater on the old Solvay waste beds along Onondaga Lake. A draft environmental impact statement surrounding the project will soon be up for review.

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5:52am

Thu June 12, 2014
Environment

Onondaga County plans to spend $15 million to combat Emerald Ash Borer

Arborist Lori Brockelbank injects insecticide into an ash tree. (file photo)
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Onondaga County expects to spend more than $15 million over the next 25 years to deal with the Emerald Ash Borer infestation. The plan targets almost 47,000 ash trees on county land that pose a danger if they fall over.

The invasive bug was discovered in Onondaga County last summer, and if left alone can kill an ash tree in two to seven years. County Environmental Director David Coburn says the county is proposing an ash tree management strategy that is a balanced approach.

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5:45am

Wed June 11, 2014
Health

Rise in elder abuse cases has central New York searching for answers

With an aging population, elder abuse is becoming more prevalent across the country and in central New York. Financial abuse has become one of the most common ways people take advantage of older Americans.

Jenny Hicks runs a program out of Vera House in Syracuse that focuses on elder abuse, and says there’s a kind of déjà vu in an agency that for years has counseled victims of domestic violence.

“It’s very much like domestic violence was 35 years ago -- in the shadows," Hicks said. "People are just now starting to talk about elder abuse.”

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7:17am

Tue June 10, 2014
Environment

Onondaga County residents speak out against 'Trash to Ash' plan

Jamesville resident Vicki Baker, left, speaks to Onondaga County legislators about the county's proposed 'Trash to Ash' plan
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Opponents to a trash to ash plan between Onondaga and Cortland Counties had their say at an informational meeting on the environmental impact of the proposed move in the town of DeWitt last night.  

The plan would truck garbage from Cortland County to Onondaga County’s trash burner in Jamesville, then return the ash to the Cortland County landfill. Many of the people who testified at the meeting had been involved in the fierce debate over whether the plant should have been built in the first place  20 years ago, and remembered the promises made to placate a community.  

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4:30pm

Mon June 9, 2014
Environment

Public to share concerns about 'Trash to Ash' plan during first hearing

Onondaga County's Waste-to-Energy Facility in Jamesville.
Office of Onondaga County Comptroller

Onondaga County is hosting the first of several public hearings on a plan to import trash from Cortland County to burn at Onondaga County’s incinerator in Jamesville.

Onondaga County Legislator David Knapp says this is all part of the process of getting information about the potential impacts of the deal.

“Right now we’re in the scoping phase of the environmental impact process," Knapp said. "So this meeting is open to any resident to come in and give us their thoughts about what should be in the scope of the environmental review.”

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7:17am

Thu June 5, 2014
Politics and Government

Wait for a pistol permit in Onondaga County drops

The wait for a pistol permit in Onondaga County has steadily gotten better since a logjam was created in the wake of the passage of the NY SAFE Act.

A year ago, it took 15 months get an appointment with the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department simply to apply for a pistol permit.  

"We’ve been able to reduce the wait from over 15 months to three months.  That’s a tremendous improvement,” said Deputy Chief John Balloni.

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7:43am

Thu May 15, 2014
Environment

Public gets first chance to weigh in on 'Trash to Ash' plan

Onondaga County's Waste-to-Energy Facility in Jamesville.
Office of Onondaga County Comptroller

The so-called Trash to Ash plan is now officially before the public. The initial public comment period has started, regarding a regional solid waste partnership between Onondaga and Cortland County, but there is already opposition to the plan.
             

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7:37am

Fri May 9, 2014
Environment

Onondaga County's compost program is growing in more ways than one

Waste is being transformed into compost at the OCRRA facility in Amboy.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

Onondaga County’s program that turns food waste into the compost and mulch we use in our gardens is expanding.

OCRRA, the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency, has installed new structures that make the process at the Amboy Compost Facility work like a well-oiled machine.

It all starts with the food we throw away at restaurants, schools and grocery stores; the fruit rinds, the crusts of bread and corn husks. Those scraps are dumped into a new covered mixing area at the facility on Airport Road in Amboy.

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6:13am

Wed May 7, 2014
Politics and Government

Onondaga County to help pave over potholes in Syracuse

As the snow melted after the hard winter, many central New York roads were left with lots of potholes.
Gino Geruntino WRVO file photo

Onondaga County will be helping out some local governments, including the city of Syracuse, re-pave roads ravaged by a bad winter.  

It wasn’t as much as originally offered by Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney, but Onondaga County lawmakers did agree yesterday to foot the bill for paving two major roads in the city of Syracuse.  

Legislature Chairman Ryan McMahon says the county will spend a half a million dollars to re-pave Adams and Harrison Streets.

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6:08am

Thu May 1, 2014
Regional Coverage

Syracuse budget hearing highlights need for first responders and literacy

Virginia Carmody, with the Literacy Coaltion of Onondaga County, speaks during Syracuse's public hearing on its annual budget.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

Pleas for funding for a literacy program, and concerns about public safety spending rounded out comments at last night’s public hearing on the city of Syracuse’s proposed 2014-2015 budget.

In all, six people spoke to common councilors about Mayor Stephanie Miner’s proposed $660 million spending plan last night. Among them was Felicia Salley, a mother of three from Syracuse’s southside. She says the Imagination Library, run by the Literacy Coalition of Onondaga County, has helped her kids prepare for school by providing each of her children one new age-appropriate book a month.

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3:38pm

Mon April 14, 2014
Education

Report: Only half of Onondaga County kids ready for kindergarten

A new report finds only half of Onondaga County children are ready for kindergarten.
Katie Keier Flickr

Only half of the children in Onondaga County are ready to start their primary school educations when they reach kindergarten, a new report from the Onondaga Citizens League has found.

The report, the latest from OCL in annual studies looking at community issues, says more focus needs to be put on educating children before they reach a classroom.

There are 27,000 children under the age of five in the county. They'll go to 18 different school districts.

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1:18pm

Fri April 11, 2014
Health

Onondaga County: Dr. Morrow's resignation was "premature"

Dr. Cynthia Morrow, former commissioner of the Onondaga County Health Department, speaking to the county legislature's health committee.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Onondaga County's deputy executive for human services says it was "premature" for the county's health commissioner to resign.

Dr. Cynthia Morrow resigned from her role as the county's top health expert last week over the county executive's plans to reorganize child and maternal health services within county departments.

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8:23am

Fri April 11, 2014
Gun control

Deadline for assault weapon registration nears

Mike Saechang Flickr

There’s an April 15 deadline for owners of assault-style firearms to register them with the New York State Police, but there’s concern the provision of the SAFE Act gun control laws will be ignored.

After New York passed strict gun control laws in January 2013, sales of assault-style weapons became illegal. But for those who already owned guns with features like a pistol grip and removable magazine, they must register them by Tuesday.

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6:07am

Fri April 4, 2014
Environment

Emerald Ash Borer poses bigger threat to central New York trees that expected

The Emerald Ash Borer poses a major threat to ash trees in Onondaga County.
USDAgov Flickr

Homeowners in parts of Onondaga County with ash trees on their property, need to take action sooner than expected to deal with the Emerald Ash Borer. 

Jesse Lyons of the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Onondaga County says there’s evidence that the invasive insect has spread to almost  the eastern border of Onondaga County.

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3:34pm

Thu April 3, 2014
Health

Onondaga County reorganization plan led to Morrow resignation

Dr. Cynthia Morrow has been Onondaga County Health Commissioner for nine years.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Onondaga County’s longtime health commissioner, Dr. Cynthia Morrow, has resigned in a disagreement over a portion of the planned reorganization of the county's human service agencies.

In the proposed new iteration of the Onondaga County's structure, Executive Joanie Mahoney's administration wants maternal and child health programs, which target at-risk infants and children as well as their families, to fall under the Department of Children and Family Services, which currently focuses on child welfare.  

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10:52am

Thu April 3, 2014
Health

Onondaga County health commissioner resigns

The head of Onondaga County's health department, Dr. Cynthia Morrow, has suddenly resigned.

Morrow's resignation is effective immediately, according to Ben Dublin, a spokesman for County Executive Joanie Mahoney.

Mahoney accepted the resignation today, Dublin said.

Deputy Commissioner Michele Mignano has been appointed in her place for the interim and Dr. Morrow will stay on for a few weeks to help with the transition, Dublin said.

The county executive released this statement: 

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6:49am

Mon March 17, 2014
Regional Coverage

Syracuse land bank to try deconstucting old homes instead of demolishing

This house at 257 South Collingwood Ave. in Syracuse was the first the city's new land bank sold. Older, damaged homes will be deconstructed or demolished.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

The Greater Syracuse Area Land Bank is going into the deconstruction business. Taking apart old homes piece by piece will be an option to just tearing them down.

In the last year, the land bank has acquired 165 properties that had been seized by the city for back taxes. Many are in such bad shape they have to be torn down. Instead of demolition though, Land Bank Executive Director Katelyn Wright says there is some money available for deconstruction.

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3:50pm

Wed March 5, 2014
Politics and Government

Mahoney says Destiny hotel may benefit from new duty-free rules

Mahoney at her State of the County Address Tuesday
Ellen Abbott

The Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency (OCIDA) is getting to work on the latest request from the developer of Destiny USA for a tax break to build a 252-room hotel across the street from the mall.

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney says OCIDA needs to consider Canadian tourism before granting tax breaks to Destiny. Many of the out-of-town visitors to Destiny are Canadian and, with new duty-free Canadian rules, Mahoney says more visitors are coming to town for more than a day.

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8:19am

Wed March 5, 2014
The Upstate Economy

Nation's first nano film school to launch in Onondaga County

Gov. Andrew Cuomo discusses the launch of the nation's first nano film school, which is going to be located in DeWitt.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

The movie business is coming to central New York. With the help of some state tax incentives, the nation’s first nano film school, along with a film production company, will set up shop in suburban Syracuse.

"Now who would have ever figured? Hollywood has come to Onondaga. Right, you would have never guessed, but it has..."

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8:22am

Mon March 3, 2014
Regional Coverage

Katko selected by GOP as designated candidate to challenge Maffei

GOP candidate John Katko speaks to party members during Saturday's convention.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

Former U.S. Attorney John Katko walked out of the Republican convention in Syracuse this weekend as the party designated GOP candidate in the race for central New York's 24th Congressional District. It was the culmination of months of politicking by eight candidates who wanted the chance to unseat democrat Dan Maffei.

"Cayuga, Wayne County, Oswego and Onondaga County has selected on the first round of voting to take on Dan Maffei, U.S. Attorney John Katko."

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3:41pm

Thu February 27, 2014
Regional Coverage

Recycling comes at a cost

Onondaga County's Waste-to-Energy Facility in Jamesville
Office of Onondaga County Comptroller

There will be some important decisions in the coming months about trash in Onondaga County.  An audit of the independent agency that takes care of trash removal and recycling shows that there could be changes in store for how you pay for trash and recycling pick up.

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8:21am

Mon February 24, 2014
Health

Excellus health insurance launches new community campaign

Credit Excellus

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield (BCBS) is launching a new campaign to remind people of the importance of taking prescription medications as directed. In many hospitals, it’s called medication adherence, and it’s an issue that’s becoming a hot topic in the health world today.

BCBS Regional President Arthur Vercillo says statistics show 75 percent of patients don’t take their prescriptions as directed.

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8:20am

Mon February 10, 2014
Regional Coverage

Destiny USA asking Onondaga County for tax breaks for proposed hotel

An aerial shot of Destiny USA.
Destiny USA

The information gathering phase of a proposed 252-room hotel project next to the Destiny USA mall in Syracuse has started.

Onondaga County and the City of Syracuse both received letters last week from Destiny indicating a plan to build a hotel across the street from the mall. The developer is asking for tax breaks from the county consistent with deals other hotels have gotten. The difference, according to mayoral spokesman Tim Carroll, is that Destiny is going through the county.

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8:11am

Mon February 10, 2014
Regional Coverage

Hancock Air Base anti-drone protesters sentenced

Protester Ed Kinane speaks to DeWitt Town Justice David Gideon.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

Twelve activists opposed to drone warfare are spending the next few weeks in an Onondaga County correctional facility. The sentencing capped off a month-long trial, with an admonition from a judge to avoid any more protests on Hancock Air Base property.

Video shot of the Hancock 17 war crimes protesters last October in front of Hancock Air Base near Syracuse, which houses the 174th Fighter Attack Wing, showed the protesters involved in some confrontations and near-miss traffic accidents. It was that video that prompted DeWitt Town Justice David Gideon to warn activists.

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7:41am

Thu February 6, 2014
Regional Coverage

Crouse's opioid program expanding to meet rising needs for treatment

Crouse Hospital

A spike in heroin and prescription painkiller abuse in central New York is the reason behind the expansion of a program that helps addicts.

Crouse Hospital in Syracuse says it’s expanding its opioid program, the only one in the area, in response to a community need for methadone treatment. Monica Taylor, director of behavior health at Crouse, says it won’t happen overnight.

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7:50am

Wed February 5, 2014
Regional Coverage

New Onondaga County program combines pet adoption with inmate rehabilitation

Republican Kevin Holmquist arguing on the floor of the Onondaga County Legislature against the kennel.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

Onondaga County lawmakers approved a plan to put a dog kennel at the county jail in Jamesville, with the idea of helping inmates and stray dogs.

Stephanie Higgins of the Syracuse Pit Crew says the dog shelter will serve as an overflow facility for up to 25 dogs from the SPCA and Dewitt Animal Hospital. These are animals that would be otherwise euthanized.

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4:00pm

Tue January 7, 2014
Politics and Government

Cuomo to push government consolidation; Onondaga County executive says it's already working

In Wednesday's State of the State address, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is going to propose a plan the would encourage localities to consolidate services with other government entities.

His plan to freeze property tax rates for two years is dependent on local governments and schools demonstrating that they are consolidating and sharing some services with other governments in the second year. If they fail to do that, property taxes would go up after all.

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