Oswego

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.

Matt Richmond/Innovation Trail

Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow is fighting with the city's fire department. He recently issued an executive order directing the department to stop its in-house practice of giving more overtime shifts to senior members, which he said costs the city far more than if it was distributed evenly.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO News File Photo

At its meeting Monday night, the Oswego Common Council revealed a much-awaited plan to address the city's controversial winter parking policy. The proposal would keep the overnight parking ban in place, extending it from 1 a.m.-6 a.m. to 12 a.m.-6 a.m., while allowing residents with inadequate parking space to apply for on-street parking permits. 

Councilor Nate Emmons said residents who are approved for the exemption would pay $125 for the annual permit, which would follow an odd-even side system. 

401(K) 2012 / Flickr

New York's energy consumers will foot the bill for the decision by the Public Service Commission (PSC) to save the state's nuclear power plants, which is part of a clean energy initiative. But the commission said the increase in energy rates to subsidize the plants will actually save the state and consumers a lot of money in the long-run.

PSC Chair Audrey Zibelman said supporting nuclear power plants, many of which are on the brink of closure because of competition from cheap natural and oil, will help New York reduce its carbon dioxide emissions and thus energy costs.

Great Lake Ontario National Marine Sanctuary

Shipwrecks are a big draw for divers and tourists in the great lakes. Now – for the first time in 20 years -- more communities are getting help in preserving and showing off their underwater treasures. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is expanding its national marine sanctuary program. For Oswego and other communities on the Great Lakes, that designation would bring federal funding and a boost to tourism

U.S. Drought Monitor.

Parts of western and central New York, including the Southern Tier, remain in a severe drought category according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. More dry weather could impact the state in the months ahead.

Jason Smith / WRVO News

Oswego's mayor is asking city residents to conserve water, saying the city's water supply is at critically low levels. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

While many cities in upstate New York have established a permanent winter parking policy, Oswego continually revisits the issue. 

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

The fate of upstate New York's nuclear power plants could be decided today. The state's Public Service Commission (PSC) will vote on a massive nuclear power subsidy program that several plant owners say they need to survive and what anti-nuclear forces call a wasteful investment in a dangerous power source.

Thousands of central New Yorkers are heading to Oswego this weekend for the city’s celebration of Harborfest, its annual festival. Families are treated to a carnival, concerts and an elaborate fireworks show. WRVO's Payne Horning visited with some of the patrons about why they make Harborfest part of their summer traditions.
 

Harborfest continues Saturday and Sunday. The fireworks show Saturday night will include a celebration of the bicentennial of Oswego County.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has finished a dredging project at the Oswego harbor, resulting in the removal of 175,000 cubic yards of sediment. That will allow the Port of Oswego to accommodate bigger ships with more cargo.

At a press conference marking the project's completion Wednesday, Port of Oswego Authority Chairman Terrence Hammill said the port is on track to create an economic impact for central New York worth $50 million, a record amount.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Preparations are underway to ready Oswego Speedway to host the annual Super Dirt Week in October. The major racing event was supposed to take place at the new Central New York Raceway Park in Hastings, but New York officials had to shift gears because of construction delays.

"You’re always going to get the people who don’t like change," said World Racing Group director of events Jeff Hachmann. "The unfortunate thing is they have no choice. We were dealt change and now it’s our job to make Super Dirt Week what it was before."

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The city of Oswego has won the state's Downtown Revitalization Initiative award for the central New York region. The competition gives $10 million to 10 communities throughout New York.

In Oswego Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo congratulated Oswego's leaders for developing what he called a smart plan that can help a city and region scarred by the loss of manufacturing.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The National Park Service (NPS) has agreed to complete a reconnaissance study on Oswego's Fort Ontario and Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Museum. Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus), who pushed for the study, said it is another positive development in the community's attempt to elevate the two historic sites to national park status. He has authored a bill that, if passed, could make that a reality.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The parents leading a charge to restore the 29 athletic teams that were cut in the Oswego City School District's new budget are celebrating a $150,000 grant that will supplement their efforts, but the funding won't be enough to rescue all of the teams that were eliminated and that's causing some division about how to best utilize those dollars.

Susan DiBlasi looked relieved at the school district's board meeting Tuesday.

"We're ecstatic," DiBlasi said."I think it's nothing but positive things going forward."

Jason Smith / WRVO News (file photo)

The House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources has approved a bill that would launch a study to determine if Fort Ontario and the Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Museum in Oswego should be elevated to national park status.

The legislation, which was authored by central New York Rep. John Katko, passed unanimously out of the committee and now heads to the full House. The 260-year-old Fort Ontario has been involved in several major American wars and the Safe Haven museum commemorates the 986 Jewish refugees who were granted shelter at the fort during world war two.

Jason Smith / WRVO News (file photo)

The Oswego Common Council approved a plan Monday from Mayor Billy Barlow to offer free wireless internet service in the city's downtown by a vote of 5-2. Several citizens spoke in favor of free WiFi ahead of the meeting, but some councilors were concerned about the price of the project and how soon it came up for a vote.

The costs for the first year would run $42,500 thousand dollars and nearly $30,000 each year thereafter. Barlow said the price is justified, calling free WiFi an essential amenity to modernize the city.

At the Oswego Common Council meeting Monday, Mayor Billy Barlow presented his plan for free public WiFi in the city's downtown. The young mayor called it an essential amenity to modernize the port city.

Jason Smith / WRVO News

Oswego County Administrator Phil Church is a shipwreck diver and photographer in his off time. These days, he's bringing his hobby to work. Church is coordinating an effort between Oswego, Jefferson, Cayuga and Wayne counties and the city of Oswego to have the southeastern part of Lake Ontario designated as a national marine sanctuary. There are only 14 in the world and Church said Oswego has a good case to join that list.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

During nearly two hours of testimony in Oswego City Hall Tuesday, community leaders and Nine Mile Point Nuclear Plant employees begged staff from New York's Public Service Commission to support the proposed "clean energy standard" under Gov. Andrew Cuomo's goal to generate half of the state's energy from renewable sources, like wind and solar, by 2030.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO News File Photo

During a hearing on Capitol Hill, Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) urged his colleagues to designate Oswego's Fort Ontario and Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Shelter Museum to National Park status. The Republican congressman is sponsoring a bill that would trigger a study to determine if the historical sites are worthy of becoming part of the National Park system.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

City officials and area leaders in Oswego are putting together an application for Gov. Andrew Cuomo's downtown revitalization initiative competition that will award $10 million to 10 New York communities.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Officials working on a project to revitalize the 3.8 miles of State Route 104 that runs through the city of Oswego say improving the road's safety is a chief concern among residents. The 104 streetscape project was intended to enhance the aesthetics of the road and its surrounding sidewalks and businesses, but feedback from locals is mostly centered around safety.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

For the second time in a week, Oswego police and fire services responded to a bomb scare Thursday at one of the city's schools.

Notes were left at the Oswego High School on May 10 and at the middle school Thursday morning, both warning of a bomb. In both instances, the school buildings were evacuated and the threats were determined to be not credible.

The Oswego City Police Department says it has identified a female student at the middle school as a possible suspect. They are still investigating the threat made to the high school.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Oswego Common Council passed a law that requires second-hand stores, like pawn shops, to keep a detailed record of any items they buy and who sells it to them so police can track down stolen material. And, the stores would also have to keep any items they buy on the shelves for at least a week. It's modeled after similar anti-burglary laws in Syracuse, Onondaga county and Fulton.

Jason Braun, owner of the Wise Guyz pawn shop in Fulton, said the change will mean fewer thieves will be able to exploit unregulated Oswego pawn shops.

Kevin Withus

Friday marks the last day of classes for SUNY Oswego students for the year, which means the return of the annual bar crawl, Bridge Street Run (BSR). While BSR is considered a long-time college tradition, SUNY Oswego is hoping to build its own tradition as an alternative.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Oswego school officials hope a public hearing on its budget crisis Tuesday will alert state lawmakers to what they call a broken funding formula. The school district is wrestling with declining tax revenues and reserve funds, which has resulted in a proposed budget that cuts more than 50 jobs.

"This is an era of financial difficulty for our district that we have to weather over the next three years after this year," said Oswego City School District Superintendent Dean Goewey, the architect of the controversial budget that slashes more than $5 million.

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