Oswego

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Central New York economic development boosters are hoping some positive trends from 2017 continue this year. One that CenterState CEO director Rob Simpson expects to hold course in 2018 is a change in something that’s plagued the area for years: brain drain.

"We have seen the latest census department estimates that the population 18-25 in central New York is actually growing at a more rapid rate than we’ve seen in recent memory," Simpson said. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

As communities in upstate like Oswego continue to get pounded by the relentless snowfall, some are running out of space to put it. One controversial option for municipalities is disposing some snow into waterways.

Jason Smith / WRVO News

Heavy lake effect snow is nothing new for people who live in Oswego County. But when that snow falls in the city of Oswego, things can grind to a halt. 

That's what happened Wednesday. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

One of the projects that received funding from New York state's economic development grants this week is a renovation of Oswego's city hall. City leaders say the work is long overdue because the building from 1870 is falling apart.

Mayor Billy Barlow said since he assumed office in 2016, it's become a trend for each retiring city employee to ask him to fix the building on their way out. 

"It's important to downtown Oswego and the city's history and we need to preserve it," Barlow said. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

An Oswego Common Councilor is being accused of sexual harassment, and the woman making the allegation is calling on him to resign. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

The city of Oswego is moving to change who gets its federal housing subsidies in an effort to propel more locals out of poverty. The city's common council is considering a proposal to prioritize applicants who are working, taking college classes or enrolled job training programs. Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow says these changes will inspire candidates to improve their applications, and in the process combat generational poverty.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Several seats on Watertown's city council are up for grabs this election, but the outcome of the vote could have more of an impact on the city's mayor.

City council candidate Ryan Henry-Wilkinson says after years of legal battles between the city and its firefighter union, he's campaigning on restoring public trust in city government. Henry-Wilkinson hopes to help accomplish that by changing Watertown's form of government to a strong mayor system replacing the city manager by making the mayor a full-time position.

farnhaminc.org

As the opioid crisis continues across the region, there have been a number of efforts to combat drug use. But some have been more successful than others.

Back in March, Farnham Family Services in Oswego partnered with the Oswego City Police Department for the Rapid Evaluation For Appropriate Placement -- or REAP -- initiative. The program allows addicts to turn themselves and their drugs in to city police, with the guarantee that they won't be arrested as long as they complete a treatment evaluation with Farnham within five days.

WRVO News File Photo

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.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO News File Photo

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.

Payne R Horning / WRVO News

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).

Gino Geruntino / WRVO File Photo

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.

Payne R Horning / WRVO News

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.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO News File Photo

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.  

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