Oswego

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All seven buildings in the Oswego City School District were placed in a lockout Thursday afternoon, after a suspicious image was shared on social media. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Another SuperDIRT Week is in the books at the Oswego Speedway. The track has played host to the annual racing event for the past two years after construction stalled at the Central New York Raceway Park in Hastings. And now that the dust has settled, Oswego officials hope it will return - this time for good.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

The city of Oswego is offering new small business loans, funded by outstanding loans that were awarded 20 years ago.

Mayor Billy Barlow says the city received $1 million in the 1990s to establish a commercial loan program. Officials doled out that funding, but several of the loans were never paid back.

“Whether the community development office never followed up or – you know, I’m not sure what happened, but we had 19 outstanding loans in January 1 of 2016,” Barlow said.

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Oswego is offering up to $400,000 to individuals, business owners and or organizations that can help the city combat poverty. It's part of the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative (ESPRI), which aims to help 16 cities improve the lives of their lower-income residents.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

 

Hurricanes in the southern U.S. have captured the nation's attention, and the federal funding used to help communities recover. That's concerning some in New York, where state lawmakers are still seeking federal aid for the months-long flooding along Lake Ontario.

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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and central New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) toured the Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Museum in Oswego last week, trying to renew interest and support for making the historic site part of the National Park Service (NPS).

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Members of the New York State Inspector General's office searched the Port of Oswego's administrative offices for several hours Wednesday. Terrence Hammill, the port board of directors chairman, says the state seized the director's business cellphone and computer, but he says he's in the dark about why they were there.

"We’re a little bit mystified," Hammill said. "There’s nothing going on that would come across our mind as an issue for the inspector general’s office."

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Oswego Common Council passed its 2018 budget proposal Monday, raising property taxes 3.48 percent. Officials blamed the increase on salaries, fringe benefits and health care costs for city employees, which is why they cut city hall staff by 7.5 positions.

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An Oswego landlord is accused of asking his tenants for sexual favors in exchange for reduced rent. The sexual harassment allegations against Doug Waterbury are part of a lawsuit filed by a Syracuse fair housing organization. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

This year's flooding along Lake Ontario has taken a toll on municipalities, exhausting their resources and threatening their infrastructure. That's the case in Oswego where the city recently took an inventory of the destruction caused by the unprecedented water levels.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

New York state has announced what projects it will fund as part of the $10 million prize Oswego won last year in the state's Downtown Revitalization Competition.

Oswego Stampede

A junior hockey team from Morrisville is relocating to Oswego.

Since it was formed in 2011, the Syracuse Stampede have called Baldwinsville and later Morrisville home. Now the North American 3 Junior Hockey League team is coming to the Anthony Crisafulli Rink, or "The Fort," in Oswego.

General Manager and Coach Mike Beavis says the new location is a better fit for their 25 players.

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The level of poverty in Oswego is more than double the national rate with 29 percent of residents living below the federal threshold.

That's the finding of a study the city recently commissioned as part of its poverty reduction initiative. And, Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow says that's only the tip of the iceberg.

"It shows another 18 percent may be above that threshold but struggle to make ends meet," Barlow said. "So if you combine those two numbers you’re almost near 50 percent, and that’s a problem."

Edgewater Resources

After a year of gathering input, Edgewater Resources has unveiled its final plan for how to transform Oswego's waterfront area along Lake Ontario. The consultant's latest draft calls for two flat rock beaches, an expansion of the marina and overhauling the pier with an elevated sand beach, restaurants and a recreational green space for community events.

Edgewater President Greg Weykamp says it delivers on the community's desire for more access to Lake Ontario.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Filing taxes is routine for most Americans, but for a group of SUNY Oswego students it's a crucial part of their education. Each year, seniors and graduate students in the college's honor society for accounting and finance majors prepare free tax returns for mostly lower-income residents. 

John Runge is a graduate accounting student and coordinator with the college's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA). He recently helped file returns for people at the Hamilton Homes complex in Oswego, an affordable housing community.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

As people continue to die from heroin and opioid addiction in central and northern New York, communities like Oswego County are offering new treatment programs to combat the crisis. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) hosted an opioid forum in Oswego Thursday night -- his first public event since Congress' failed attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

New York officials are split over the Republican's proposed replacement to the Affordable Care Act and how it will impact the state. As the House of Representatives prepares for the scheduled vote on the legislation, state and federal leaders are fighting to sway the public to their side.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow has hired a new chief for the city's fire department. The change in leadership comes at a tumultuous time for the Oswego Fire Department.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow is leading an effort to update the city's zoning code. He says the current system is antiquated and redundant. So Barlow is asking the council to spend $105,000 for a Syracuse-based law firm to rewrite the code, making it more business friendly.

Oswego Common Council President Eric VanBuren says this overhaul has been on his to do list for awhile and now is the perfect time to get it done.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

A third of the city of Utica lives below the poverty line, including 47 percent of its children. That is the starting point for the city's new poverty reduction initiative task force. At its first public forum last week, those involved with the project revealed that the problem is even worse for African American children, 72 percent of whom are affected.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego is narrowing in on a plan to completely overhaul its waterfront area. Some of the proposals include radical changes to the current landscape, like a beach, whitewater rafting course and new maritime museum. 

The city received a state-funded grant to study ways it can best utilize its lakeside location so Oswego can become more of a destination. The consultant on the project Greg Weykamp says after a year of meeting with city leaders and residents, there's one overarching desire.  

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

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.

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