Oswego

Payne Horning / WRVO News

As SUNY Oswego junior Alyssa Lopez reflects on her fall semester, it's hard to forget the moment when she was on the edge of being homeless. She and her roommates got a call from the city of Oswego's code enforcement department in September to investigate the houses's front porch, which was rotting and falling apart. After one visit, the place she was calling home was condemned.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Employees at the FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant have taken the facility offline to begin the refueling process, a reality that seemed almost impossible one year ago. FitzPatrick was rescued from closure last summer when Exelon agreed to buy it after New York state approved a massive nuclear subsidy program.  

Payne Horning / WRVO News

As Oswego city lawmakers prepare for the second year of their term, a power struggle seems to be emerging between the common council and the mayor.

In a close vote this week, the Oswego Common Council removed the president and vice president of the council from their leadership roles. Those positions are now filled by councilors who went to battle with Mayor Billy Barlow and City Attorney Kevin Caraccioli last month over a sewer contract with the town of Oswego.

Newly installed council President Eric VanBuren says that fight was a catalyst for the change in leadership. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Oswego Common Council President Shawn Walker calls 2016 the most productive year for the city he's seen in his nine years on the council. The city's leaders tackled several issues in the past year that had previously been kicked down the road.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

A bill that would have helped elevate Fort Ontario and the Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Museum in Oswego to National Park status has died in the U.S. Senate. 

WRVO News File Photo

Oswego Common Councilors decided to not override Mayor Billy Barlow's first veto last night. The issue concerned a sewer contract that had implications for an off-campus private student housing complex.

The Common Council voted last week to rescind a contract with the town of Oswego to handle its sewage. several councilors had claimed they were not aware that sewer contract would include a private housing complex for SUNY Oswego students that's still in development.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

In Oswego, a massive, rust-covered container ship glided across Lake Ontario Wednesday morning. It eased toward the Port of Oswego and abruptly came to rest after bumping against the dock.

The 24-foot-tall ship was carrying equipment from Germany that will head to a brewery in Rochester. The port is expecting another shipment of similar equipment next year for a brewery in Fulton. Port director Zelko Kirincich wants to see more container ships visit the port because he says it's more cost efficient for businesses that are importing and exporting by ship. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego residents had their first chance to provide input on the city's downtown revitalization project last week. Dozens of residents and community leaders came out to the city's first public meeting last week to help shape the direction of the project.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

The Oswego Common Council has approved amendments to its taxi cab laws that lawmakers say will improve public safety.

The new resolution adopted Monday night establishes a "good moral character" clause to help city officials determine who can get a license to drive a cab in the city. It spells out what crimes could preclude someone from obtaining a license, such as murder, rape, sexual abuse of a minor, child pornography and others.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Oswego City School District is still feeling the pain from the $5 million budget gap earlier this year when the district cut 50 positions. Next school year isn't looking much easier as the district faces a $4 million deficit. But, school officials are beginning to make some headway with avoiding a repeat of those layoffs. 

Courtesy: Safe Haven Museum

Ruth Gruber died last week at 105. She was an accomplished journalist and humanitarian. But in Oswego she is remembered and celebrated for the role she played when the United States offered safe harbor to 986 European refugees during World War II.

Gruber worked for the department of the interior when she was chosen to escort the mostly Jewish refugees on their voyage to America. They were housed at Fort Ontario in Oswego for the remainder of the war. Eventually, Gruber championed the refugees' fight to gain American citizenship.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow is preparing to replace the city's fire department chief after a contentious year between the two that included battles over layoffs and overtime expenses. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Ruth Gruber, who played a key role in helping Oswego’s Fort Ontario harbor nearly 1,000 refugees during World War II, has died. She was an accomplished journalist and humanitarian, but she is most fondly remembered in Oswego for the difference she made in the lives of the refugees she helped save. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego lawmakers are once again revisiting the city's taxi cab laws in an attempt to improve public safety.

The Oswego Common Council is proposing several amendments to existing law, most notably a "good moral character" clause to limit who can be a licensed cab driver in the city. The new language is an attempt to bar those convicted of certain crimes like murder, rape, sexual abuse of minors, child pornography, ransom, etc. from getting a license.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

A group of students at SUNY Oswego has spent the semester registering their peers to vote ahead of New York's registration deadline today. But the registration drive is only part of a larger campaign classroom experience.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

At the first Super DIRT week held at the Oswego Speedway, fans packed the newly renovated grandstands and eagerly awaited the premiere race on Sunday. But it wasn't without a few bumps in the road.

Alyson Hurt / Flickr

After several years of debate, the Oswego Common Council said it has finally taken a step toward resolving persistent complaints about the city's winter parking policy.

The council unanimously passed a new law Tuesday that will ban parking on city streets from midnight to 6 a.m. starting in December and ending in March. Residents without a driveway or adequate parking spaces can apply for one $75 annual permit per address to leave their vehicle on the street.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The city of Oswego cut 17 firefighter positions this year, due to a budget deficit. But six of those firefighters have now been hired by the Syracuse Fire Department. Some Syracuse common councilors are upset that Syracuse residents were not considered for the positions.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

The Oswego Common Council approved Mayor Billy Barlow's request to raise the cost of rental permit fees from $30 for a three-year permit to $150 at its meeting Monday. Barlow said the increase, which is the first time the permit prices have been changed since 2005, will equip the city's code enforcement department with the funds they need to crack down on negligent landlords.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Oswego Speedway is covered in dirt for the first time since it was paved in 1952. It's just one of the many changes at the racetrack in preparation for the upcoming SuperDIRT Week race.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Delivering on one of his signature campaign promises, Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow is targeting so-called slum lords. He has added two new code enforcers and started conducting what he calls a blitz of rental property inspections. 

Draken Expedition America

The replica Viking ship Draken Harald Hårfagre has sailed out of the Great Lakes, wrapping up a contentious visit.

The 115-foot Norwegian vessel sailed across the Atlantic Ocean this spring and toured Canadian and U.S. waters all summer. It made stops in Chicago, Detroit and Green Bay where visitors came aboard for tours. But as of now, the Draken has no plans to return to the Great Lakes.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego High School football returns today for its first game of the season, but only the junior varsity team will take the field. The varsity program is not returning because of financial cuts.

Payne Horning / WRVO News (file photo)

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is ordering the central New York aluminum manufacturer Novelis to work with its employees to create a union. 

Jim Kennard

A team of underwater explorers that recently found the wreck of a 18th century commercial sailing vessel in Lake Ontario say what they're looking for next is not a ship.

Shipwreck explorer Jim Kennard says he and his team would love to find a B-24 aircraft that sank in Lake Ontario in 1944.

“A number of people and divers have looked for this aircraft for years, but Lake Ontario is a big place, 7,540 square miles," said Kennard. "It’s somewhere in the lake off of Oswego, but where it is, we don’t know yet."

Payne Horning / WRVO News

When the Draken Harald Hårfagre long-ship floated into Oswego's harbor Sunday morning, 48 hours late, H. Lee White Maritime Museum director Mercedes Niess said she was relieved.

"Honestly, when they finally came around the lighthouse here I started to tear up," Niess said. "We’re just so glad because we were on pins and needles of whether today would happen."

Payne Horning / WRVO News

In addition to cutting more than a dozen jobs from Oswego's fire and police services at its Monday meeting, the city's common council also eliminated the entire planning and zoning department. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Despite pleas from a passionate crowd, the Oswego Common Council approved a budget Monday night that will eliminate 16 firefighter jobs and a city department next year. The city was facing a major budget deficit because a contract with the Onondaga County Water Authority for the sale of a water tunnel connected to Lake Ontario, which had provided the city with an annual  $1 million payment for 20 years, has expired.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Oswego has just won two New York state water fund grants that the city's mayor said is a huge breakthrough in their effort to tackle a major infrastructure project. The awards are worth a combined $3.6 million on two projects that will cost more than $14 million to complete. It's the next phase in the $87 million consent decree, a water and sewer separation project that is mandated by the state and federal governments to prevent future sewage runoff into Lake Ontario.  

Jim Kennard

 

An eighteenth century sloop called the Washington has been discovered off the coast of Oswego.

Jim Kennard, Roger Pawlowski, and Roland Stevens found the ship, which sank in 1803. It is the second oldest wreck discovered in Lake Ontario.

Kennard and his team used sonar technology and a remotely operated vehicle to locate the sloop.

"As an explorer, you can't be the first one to the top of a mountain because most mountains have been climbed, but you can be the first one to make a discovery of a shipwreck," said Kennard.

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