Onondaga County

Fall means budget season in counties across New York State.  Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney makes her budget pitch to lawmakers Friday.  Many governments are facing the same pressures.

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.

After more than one hundred years in circulation, Syracuse's newspaper is cutting production to three days a week.

With the spread of West Nile Virus across the country, some communities have chosen to spray pesticides to kill the mosquitoes that carry the deadly virus.  Despite the death of an elderly man in Syracuse from West Nile this week, Onondaga County officials have decided against that option.  

Almost every November, voters are asked to make choices about judges, but they have almost no relevant information about how those judges will approach their jobs. Beyond knowing the candidates' party, citizens end up casting votes largely in the dark. And Family Court is perhaps the murkiest of all judicial positions.

Though the dry weather is causing hardships for some, there is at least one benefit -- mosquito populations are down in central New York.

New E-911 radios for Oswego County

Jul 23, 2012

Starting today, Oswego County will turn on its new E-911 radios. The system comes with some new features.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Central New York is waging war on litter. A wide ranging coalition of Democrats and Republicans, and state and local officials, want to get the word out that tossing trash on local roads is bad form.

Onondaga County lawmakers approved the county's share of the Onondaga Community College's operating and capital  budgets yesterday.  But, the two- year school didn't get quite what it asked for.

amandabhslater / Flickr

Onondaga County could soon be saving rain in the suburbs.

Lawmakers are considering expansion of the "Save the Rain" program, which has already kept 125 million gallons of water out of the sewage treatment plant in the city of Syracuse.

When the Manlius Swans had their eggs destroyed, there were numerous calls and letters demanding justice.

When 20-month-old Rashad Walker, Jr. was shot and killed in an apparent gang-related attack, there was silence.

What does this say about the state of gang violence in the Syracuse area, and the community's numbness - or fear - regarding it? Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick wrestles with this question, and also comments on some of the recent conflicts his office has had with other local public officials.

Remembering fallen members of the police force

May 15, 2012
Matt Johnston

It was a day of remembrance today in Syracuse at the newly renovated Forman Park. Mayor Stephanie Miner, Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler, and Onondaga County Sheriff Kevin Walsh were all on hand to honor members of the police force that have fallen in the line of duty.

Syracuse’s mayor hopes her appointment to a state infrastructure commission will mean more funding for central New York.

Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Mitt Romney won New York’s presidential primary Tuesday without much difficulty. Romney won 62.4% of the vote statewide. Ron Paul finished second, picking up 15.7%. Newt Gingrich finished third, with 12.9% and Rick Santorum picked up 9% of the vote, despite dropping out of the race earlier this month.

It’ll be election deja-vu for some Onondaga County voters this year when it comes to the 127th Assembly District seat. An incumbent who lost two years ago is jumping back into the ring.

Flu season is peaking this week in Onondaga county, a month behind schedule. This year's flu bug is a particularly mild one. According to federal figures, this year reports the fewest cases since the 80s.

"I think that we're peaking now, which is a late peak, but our numbers were still going up as of last week... but very, very low numbers, not anything I'm concerned about," Onondaga County Health Commissioner Dr. Cynthia Morrow said. "But it is not over yet."

Morrow tracks flu numbers every year. She says that the mild winter could have something to do with lower numbers.

An independent auditor who looked over the books of Onondaga’s County Industrial Development Agency (OCIDA) presented his findings to the OCIDA board Tuesday.

OCIDA board members liked what they heard. 

“I was very pleased,” says OCIDA Executive Director Mary Beth Primo. “It’s reassuring to know my board and the auditors realize the staff is doing a very good job.”

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney works on the front lines of the "unfunded mandate" issue, a phrase we've been hearing with increasing frequency at all levels of political discussion.  What exactly is the problem with unfunded mandates? 

They worked later into the evening Tuesday, but Onondaga County lawmakers passed a budget that cut more than $5 million from County Executive Joanie Mahoney's proposed budget.

Property taxes will go up in most county towns, but will go down in every village except Fabius. Residents in the towns of Clay and Salina will see the biggest tax increases. 

Republican Kevin Holmquist of Manlius says it took weeks of work to take the 3 villages he represents from a 10% tax increase to a 5% tax decrease.

The war on Triple-E in Central New York is getting some federal firepower.  New York’s senior U.S. Senator has a plan he hopes will help deal with a virus , that's transmitted by mosquitos and has become a part of our environment.

Sen. Chuck Schumer announced Tuesday a three pronged federal plan to help local officials fight Eastern Equine Encephalitis, the mosquito borne illness that killed a 4 year old Oswego County girl this summer. 

"Our local and state health departments have done a great job," said Schumer. "I have no dispute with them. They could use federal help."

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