Onondaga County

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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4:03pm

Mon December 23, 2013
Regional Coverage

Annual 'Christmas Bureau' helps low-income families

Volunteers help families pick Christmas presents at the Salvation Army's Christmas Bureau
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

More than 2,500 low-income families in Onondaga County are getting their holiday stockings filled today. Families have been filing through the OnCenter in Syracuse for the Salvation Army’s yearly Christmas Bureau.

Theresa Johnson of Syracuse is unemployed this Christmas and is happy that for the Christmas bureau program that provides gifts and food for families like hers.

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7:48am

Tue December 17, 2013
Regional Coverage

Onondaga County, Syracuse look to consolidate government

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner (left) and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney discuss their plan to consolidate government in the county.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

Onondaga County and the city of Syracuse are hoping to build on the success of government consolidation projects in the past to make more moves to modernize or consolidate government in the future. How the two biggest government entities in central New York will do this is isn’t quite clear, but they say they want to get the conversation going.

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney used a snowy day in Syracuse to illustrate the idea of government inefficiency.

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7:30am

Mon December 16, 2013
Regional Coverage

Simulation offers glimpse into world of poverty

A conference room plays host to about 100 people taking part in a poverty simulation.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

A small conference room at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Syracuse was recently transformed into a world of poverty. A simulation run by the Syracuse anti-poverty group Visions for Change gave 100 people a chance to see what it is like to walk in the shoes of the poor helping those participating learn a valuable lesson.

A pretend corner market was a busy spot in the simulation, but it wasn’t the pretend food or prescriptions drawing the most interest. It was the bus passes.

"Do you want a weekly bus pass?" a woman asks. "Yes, please."

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8:09am

Thu November 7, 2013
Health

Health navigators say Affordable Care Act sign-ups have been successful

There may be problems in other states for people signing up for health care under the Affordable Care Act, but things are moving smoothly in New York state, according to one organization in the midst of it. ACR Health in Syracuse says it has nothing but success stories.

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8:20am

Wed November 6, 2013
Politics and Government

Miner wins reelection in Syracuse, Greens say party shows strength

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner addresses the crowd following the announcement of her re-election victory.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

Syracuse and Onondaga County's local political landscape remains pretty much intact after yesterday's election. Republicans rule the suburbs and County government; while democrats maintain a stranglehold over Syracuse city hall. Mayor Stephanie Miner won re-election easily with 68 percent of the vote against two third-party challengers, and got a surprise congratulations call from Washington.

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8:15am

Mon November 4, 2013
Politics and Government

Onondaga County Elections Commissioners struggle to get people to polls

Polling machines like this one will be used throughout Onondaga County for Tuesday's elections.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

Elections officials in Onondaga County aren't counting on a busy day tomorrow, as they're predicting record low turnout rates.

Republican Elections Commissioner Helen Kiggens Walsh thinks it'll be a struggle to get more voters out this year than two years ago, which was the lowest turnout ever.

"Our record low is 25 percent," Kiggens Walsh said. "I think we're going to go below that this year. I'm guessing the low 20s."

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7:51am

Fri November 1, 2013
Politics

Election day could bring youth to Syracuse Common Council

The four candidates competing for seats on Syracuse's Common Council. From left: Joe Carni, Jake Barrett, Alex Walsh and Chad Ryan.
Tom Magnarelli/WRVO

A new generation of politicians in the city of Syracuse are following in their families' footsteps and running for office.

Barring an election day surprise, Syracuse's next common councilor from the 2nd district will be under 30. These candidates say their youth will benefit the city.

Democratic nominee and funeral director Chad Ryan is 28 years old and the son of former Onondaga County Legislator Ed Ryan.

The younger Ryan said the best way to improve the city is to get more residents involved, like by attending neighborhood meetings.

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6:54pm

Thu October 31, 2013
Regional Coverage

Onondaga County has its own spooky stories to share on Halloween

An artist's rendering of the ghost Clarissa
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Ghost stories abound during the Halloween season and the Onondaga Historical Association has collected some of the best known ghostly tales in Onondaga County.

One of the most told ghost stories in central New York is "the Bride of the 13 Curves."  OHA Curator of History Dennis Conners said it starts on Cedarvale Road.

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7:51am

Fri October 25, 2013
Health

Start of flu season best time to get vaccinated

Credit USACE Europe District / via Flickr

Onondaga County Health Commissioner Dr. Cynthia Morrow said there are signs that the flu season is upon us. Morrow said there is one laboratory confirmed case of the flu in Onondaga County, and she's hearing reports from doctors offices about unconfirmed cases.  

Morrow said it's a good time for central New Yorkers to get their flu vaccine. She also said this year's vaccine may offer more protection than those in the past, which targeted three flu strains.

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1:55pm

Tue October 22, 2013
Politics

Mahoney says it's "pure rumor" she'll be lieutenant governor

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney, far left, listens to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, right, during an event in Syracuse in May.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney says it's "pure rumor" that she will replace Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s re-election bid next year.

The Republican county executive's name popped up in the news as rumors have grown recently that Duffy will step down. Mahoney endorsed Cuomo, a Democrat, in his initial election bid and the two have remained close allies.

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8:23am

Tue October 22, 2013
Environment

EPA praises Onondaga County for green infrastructure work

Environmental Protection Agency Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe, left, talks with Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney and EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

A top official at the Environmental Protection Agency was in Syracuse on Monday to highlight the county's work in green infrastructure.

Hitting on Onondaga County's Save the Rain program, EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe outlined the agency's updated national green infrastructure strategy.

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8:44am

Mon October 14, 2013
Regional Coverage

Onondaga County creates two new departments, shrinks another

Onondaga County is making massive changes to the part of its bureaucracy that helps families and individuals in need. The recently passed county budget reshuffles the traditional way residents have been getting services for years.

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7:56am

Thu October 10, 2013
Regional Coverage

Onondaga County lawmakers bring back bail program

Keith Allison, Flickr

Onondaga County lawmakers are resurrecting a program that helps people who need to be bailed out of jail after committing minor crimes. Lawmakers agreed to put $25,000 in the recently passed 2014 budget, to run the Jail Ministry Bail Expediter Program.

Legislator Linda Ervin says constituents have been asking for a return of the program ever since it was disbanded, because of concerns that funds were being misused. She says it puts people without means on the same footing as those with ready cash who can bail out loved ones in the case of a minor crime, like shoplifting.

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7:56am

Wed October 9, 2013
Politics and Government

Onondaga County legislature, sheriff's department at odds over budget

Onondaga County lawmakers discuss the county budget Tuesday. It passed by a 15-1 vote.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Onondaga County lawmakers are putting a tighter reign on spending at the sheriff's department. The legislature approved the county's 2014 $1.2 billion budget Tuesday night. It included a budget maneuver that give's lawmakers more control over department spending that has come in substantially over budget the last few years, according to legislature chairman Ryan McMahon.

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8:08am

Mon October 7, 2013
Business

Onondaga County to vote on proposed 2014 budget this week

Onondaga County lawmakers vote this week on the proposed $122 million 2014 budget. The spending plan includes a slight decrease in the tax rate along with some spending cuts. One additional fund that's being proposed in the budget is a pot of money that would be available for economic development projects.

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney has seen it before in central New York; economic development projects die because they can't get those last final dollars in place. So what does she the propose in order to correct the problem?

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8:12am

Thu October 3, 2013
Environment

Onondaga Lake Park prepares for Emerald Ash Borer

The emerald ash borer poses a major threat to ash trees at Onondaga Lake Park.
USDAgov Flickr

Now that the Emerald Ash Borer has been confirmed in Onondaga County, local governments are trying to find the best strategy to deal with the invasive pests that will ultimately kill all the ash trees in the area. One of the county's biggest challenges lies in one of the busiest public green spaces in central New York, at Onondaga Lake Park.

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4:56pm

Fri September 13, 2013
Politics and Government

Joanie Mahoney presents Onondaga County 2014 budget

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney presents her 2014 budget to the Onondaga County Legislature.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Onondaga County is on firm, fiscal footing according to County Executive Joanie Mahoney.  Mahoney offered up a $1.22 billion 2014 budget to the Onondaga County Legislature Friday that features spending cuts and a slight decrease in tax rates.

Mahoney says there are a couple of reasons for the slimmer spending plan.

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6:36am

Tue September 10, 2013
Politics and Government

Primary day expected to draw low numbers

Columbia City Blog Flickr

It's primary day in New York state, and city halls throughout the region are at the center of voting. Probably the highest profile mayoral race is in New York City, but voters will also be choosing candidates for mayor in Buffalo, Rochester, Albany, Watertown and Syracuse.

While the polls give an edge to incumbents in these races, Onondaga County Democratic Elections Commissioner Dustin Czarny says candidates can't afford to take anything for granted.

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7:31am

Fri August 2, 2013
Environment

Emerald Ash Borer discovered in Onondaga County

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Now that the Emerald Ash Borer, or EAB, has been discovered in Onondaga County a special task force will begin making decisions about the future of ash trees, which account for 13 percent of the trees in central New York.

The EAB can kill an ash tree in as little as two years. Central New York Emerald Ash Borer Task Force member David Coburn says the result is that many trees will either be treated with pesticide or chopped down.

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8:16am

Thu July 25, 2013
Environment

State, Cornell Cooperative Extension teach public to identify invasive pests

Volunteers are taught what to look for when examining trees for the "big three" invasive forest pests.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

On a muggy morning next to the American Steel and Aluminum Company in Liverpool, four people clad in orange vests look through binoculars at the vegetation that surrounds the warehouse.
         

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2:53pm

Fri July 12, 2013
Health

Will a rainy June mean more West Nile virus?

Gravitywave via Flickr

The conventional wisdom is that it's going to be a bad year for mosquitos, because of the very rainy June. But, whether that means more incidence of mosquito born viruses, is debatable.

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7:53am

Fri July 12, 2013
Politics and Government

Eyes on Democratic primary in Syracuse mayoral race

Mayor Stephanie Miner submits her signatures to officially be on the ballot in September
Stephanie Miner/Facebook

The focus in the race for mayor in the city of Syracuse at this point is on a September 10 primary. Three candidates have turned in petition signatures this week to get on the ballot in September. Onondaga County Elections Commissioner Dustin Czarny says history shows whoever wins that race, will be victorious in November.

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9:00am

Tue July 9, 2013
Regional Coverage

Renovations on Syracuse's Central Library begin

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

It's been almost two years since Onondaga County lawmakers approved funding for renovation of the Central Library in downtown Syracuse. Now the first steps in revamping the facility are starting.

The Central Library has been ensconced in the Galleries of Syracuse for 25 years now. When it opened up, the Galleries was a retail hub, that's now morphed into what amounts to an office building. Central Librarian Doreen Milcarek says the facility needs to downsize, a move that will reflect staffing cutbacks and the changing needs of library patrons.

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8:11am

Fri July 5, 2013
Environment

Wasp watchers being recruited

Cornell University Cooperate Extension Onondaga County

The emerald ash borer is getting closer to Onondaga County. The Asian beetle infests and kills North American ash trees, and are as close to central New York as Rochester.  Now, Cornell Cooperative Extension is recruiting volunteers for a program in Onondaga County that could  let wasps sound the alarm that the devastating bugs are here.

So how does a wasp tell us that the Emerald Ash Borer is in town?  Simple. They eat them.

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8:49am

Tue June 25, 2013
Politics and Government

Councilor accuses mayor of misleading about planning merger

Syracuse Common Councilor Lance Denno questions Andrew Maxwell, head of planning for Syracuse, about his department's merger with the county.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

An increasingly disgruntled Syracuse common councilor accused the mayor's office of misleading taxpayers about the city and Onondaga County's merger of their planning departments.

Just as Monday's routine pre-meeting study session was wrapping up, councilor Lance Denno called the mayor's press secretary, Alexander Marion, before them.

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8:45am

Thu June 20, 2013
Politics and Government

Planning departments merger could spur more government consolidation

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney signing an agreement to merge the city and county planning agencies.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

The city of Syracuse and Onondaga County planning departments have officially merged. Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney signed an inter-municipal agreement Thursday that brings the planning agencies of both governments under one roof.

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6:40am

Wed June 5, 2013
Politics and Government

Syracuse & Onondaga County combine planning offices

Onondaga County lawmakers have taken the first step towards creating a new joint city of Syracuse-county planning agency. Current city and county offices that both have planning duties will be combined into one.

Legislator Kathleen Rapp says the consolidation of the two planning departments will streamline the current planning process, easing the regulatory burden for businesses that deal with zoning issues.

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8:33am

Tue June 4, 2013
Business

Former New Venture Gear plant may have new tenant

New Venture Gear once employed 4,000 people making auto parts in DeWitt, N.Y.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

The old New Venture Gear auto parts factory in suburban Syracuse could have a new tenant much quicker than county economic development officials expected.

A newly formed company called American Intermodal Container Manufacturing Inc. wants to use about half of the large factory to make shipping containers.

New Venture Gear concluded a long shutdown of its DeWitt plant in August. It once employed 4,000 people making parts for SUVs.

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9:21am

Wed May 29, 2013
Regional Coverage

Onondaga County hoping to speed up pistol permit waits

Onondaga County residents who want to get a pistol permit, are still seeing waits of more than 14 months to get an initial interview needed to get that permit.  But, county officials are expediting the purchase of a computer program that should move things along.

It'll be about a month before new software replaces the index cards Onondaga County Sheriff's deputies now use to process pistol permits, and start to make a dent in the wait for a permit hearing. County Legislator Kevin Holmquist says one of the reasons it took so long to award a contract for the software, was the state's new gun control law, called the NY SAFE Act.

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