Onondaga County

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Former New Venture Gear plant may have new tenant

Jun 4, 2013
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.

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.

As the deadline for the "opt-out" portion of the New York SAFE Act passed Wednesday, the Onondaga County Sheriff's Department was still wading through thousands of forms from gun owners who don't want their pistol permit information available to the public.  

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

For the first time since before the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra went bankrupt two years ago, musicians will play a full season of symphonic music. The Symphoria's "Music in the Key of CNY" series marks a big moment for the fledgling musical group.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Syracuse Democratic party activist Gary Morris has dropped his bid to become president of the Syracuse Common Council and endorsed current president Van Robinson Monday.

When it comes to health, what does the region do well, and what does it do poorly? What are the next frontiers in making the community healthier? In this edition of the Campbell Conversations, Onondaga County Health Commissioner Cynthia Morrow reflects on recent statistics about the county's health, discusses different approaches that communities and government can take toward improving health, and speculates about possible futures.

Juvenile records are automatically sealed in New York state, so they don't prejudice a prosecutor or judge, but state Sen. John DeFrancisco is proposing an exception. He wants those records be available to court officials if they involve sex crimes.

In March, the federal government awarded Chenango County, northeast of Binghamton, foreign trade zone status. That means county businesses can import goods without paying a tariff. They also pay a lower tariff if those goods are sold within the United States and no tariff if the final product is exported.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner's proposed election year budget includes no increases in taxes or fees; there are also no proposed layoffs. But despite spending cuts and consolidations, the city's fund balance takes a big hit, in order to fill a multi-million dollar budget hole.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

It'll be easier for police to recover stolen goods from pawn shops and second-hand stores throughout Onondaga County, if a law approved by the county legislature goes into effect. The legislation is aimed at closing a loophole that pushes criminals outside Syracuse city limits to sell stolen goods.

There could be changes coming to the human services agencies and departments in Onondaga County government.  County Executive Joanie Mahoney says there's a two-fold reason for a proposed realignment.

Central New Yorkers want a public park available to everyone along Onondaga Lake. That was the upshot from the latest survey on the future of what was once the most polluted lake in the nation.

The Onondaga County Sheriff's Department has received the go-ahead to do whatever necessary to ease the pistol permit backlog that's mushroomed in central New York, because of the dramatic increase of the number of permit applications coming into the Syracuse office.

Unlike many other local governments in New York state, Onondaga County has weathered the recent fiscal crisis, and come out on firm financial footing. In her State of the County address Tuesday night, County Executive Joanie Mahoney credits recent budget cutting tactics for the difference.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Onondaga County is the latest county government in New York state to call on Albany to repeal the SAFE Act.  The county legislature voted Tuesday to ask the state to scrap the new state law, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo has called the toughest gun control law in the country.

The Onondaga County Legislature is expected to join a growing list of county governments cementing their opposition to New York's new, stricter, gun control laws.

The Onondaga County sheriff’s office is speaking out on New York’s new gun control rules for the first time.

The newspaper business is changing. It has to, in a digital world where information is as close as an app on a phone, or a tap on a computer. The question is, how will newspapers make that change? The Syracuse Post-Standard, owned by Advance Newspapers, has made its move, and the change is about to occur.

The city of Syracuse is asking Onondaga County to help crack down down on burglaries. Syracuse officials want to make it harder for burglars to sell stolen items to second hand shops throughout the county.

Onondaga County lawmakers this month approved a new staff member for the Veterans Service Agency. an increase of returning veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan is putting more stress on the agency.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

The political season in the city of Syracuse has begun.  Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner has made a relatively early announcement of her intentions to run for re-election.

Reaction to New York's new gun control law from prosecutors is generally positive. For one central New York District attorney it closes some loopholes, but leaves others open.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources / Flickr

It's only a matter of time before the ash tree population in central New York is decimated by the Emerald Ash Borer. A task force is at work getting ready for the invasion of the deadly insects, that are now in massive numbers only two counties away from Onondaga County.

The United as One Coalition is taking its case for an Onondaga County jail oversight board to county lawmakers.  Coalition members want the Onondaga County Legislature to create a board that they say could ultimately save lives.

Last year's Christmas tree is this spring's mulch

Jan 2, 2013
lizard10979 / via Flickr

If you're putting away Christmas decorations and taking ornaments off the tree, Onondaga County's recycling agency wants to make sure that old tree gets re-purposed.

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