Oswego

Oswego pawn shop bill drawing criticism

Apr 27, 2016
Payne Horning / WRVO News

In an attempt to crack down on burglary, Oswego is considering a bill that would require the city's pawn shops to keep better records of their business transactions.

Mayor Billy Barlow, who's leading the effort, said he has heard from too many frustrated residents who say Oswego police (OPD) often reach dead ends when looking for their stolen property.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Oswego City School Board approved a $79.5 million budget Tuesday, despite opposition from several students and parents who criticized its cuts to athletic programs.

The district is facing a $5 million shortfall because of falling tax revenues, mainly due to a declining tax agreement with the Nine Mile Point Nuclear Facility, and a depleted fund balance, which is so low that state officials have asked the district not to dip into it for this year's budget.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Update:

The Oswego Classroom Teachers Association released the following revised statement Thursday morning.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Oswego Common Council narrowly approved the creation of an ethics board Monday. The three councilors who voted against it said they supported the initiative, but disagree with the resolution's language that gives the mayor sole power to select all three of its members. Mayor Billy Barlow said that's consistent with his right to appoint people to other city committees under Oswego's charter, yet several residents like Tom Ciappa argued that this committee should be unique.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Included in central New York’s upstate revitalization plan is $40 million to develop an inland port that will process international freight containers coming from the Port of New York and New Jersey. The proposed location of the inland port is just outside of Syracuse in Jamesville, but another competing plan in a different location has been under consideration for years.

Entergy

If the owner of the James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant refuses to keep the facility open, can the state force it to? That's the question after FitzPatrick owner Entergy has rejected several offers to help keep the financially stressed plant from closing in January. The company says it's too late, but some think the state may not need Entergy's approval.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

In the state's latest attempt to combat the heroin epidemic, officials are expanding access to a drug overdose antidote to ensure more New Yorkers can access the potentially life saving medicine. 

Naloxone, more commonly referred to as Narcan, is now available without a prescription at 750 independent pharmacies and chain pharmacies. That's in addition to the 480 CVS and 460 Walgreens pharmacies that were approved to offer Narcan without a prescription earlier this year.

Oswego's Wayne Drugs manager Jamie Branshaw praised the state's action.

centro.org

A tracking system that shows customers where Centro buses are in real time is in a test stage in Syracuse.

Bus Tracker is already in place in Centro’s smaller markets, Auburn, Oswego, Rome and Utica. But the bus company just finished geocoding the system in Syracuse. Centro spokesman Steve Koegel says now that’s done, patrons can actually see buses moving along a bus route in Syracuse.  

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego is planning a major revitalization of the area along State Route 104, which runs through the middle of its downtown and waterfront area.

Mayor Billy Barlow said it doesn't take long for visitors to pass through the city on Route 104, leaving little time for Oswego to stand out.

"It’s the face of our community," Barlow said. "It’s the street that gives you the impression, you know the first 30 seconds you have to make an impression."

City of Oswego

Oswego's new mayor says he is well on the way to achieving reforms he targeted for his first 100 days. Halfway there, Mayor Billy Barlow is celebrating what he calls a new energy at city hall. He has opened new positions in the code enforcement department, a new city website is under development and the city's community development department is currently undergoing a complete overhaul.

"My approach up to this point has been let's get our house in order before we start trying to attract people when we don't have our act together," Barlow said.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO News File Photo

In his 2016 budget presentation, Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed investing an additional $100 million in a $200 million grants program that helps pay for water infrastructure projects. Despite the water infrastructure problems facing central New York, only two municipalities in the region are receiving funding in the first round of grants.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

When a high school student is not admitted to a college or university, they receive a rejection letter. But at SUNY Oswego, that process is changing to let some denied applicants have another shot.

The college rejected about 2,500 freshmen applicants last year, according to Dan Griffin, director of admissions at SUNY Oswego. The response to those students was the same.

"We’re sorry, we can’t help you out as a freshman," Griffin said. "If you go someplace else for a couple of semesters, maybe you should reapply and we'll do our best to accommodate you."

Oswego County emergency management officials say one of the emergency sirens that surround the county's three nuclear power plants inadvertently went off twice early Wednesday morning.

The siren, located on County Route 1 in Scriba near the entrance to the Novelis Aluminum plant, went off shortly after 3:00 a.m. and again just before 4:00 a.m. County 911 officials received a radio signal from the siren that indicated a malfunction.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO News File Photo

The Oswego Common Council is repealing a recently enacted law that requires city employees to live within 15 miles of downtown Oswego. In a 6-1 vote Monday, the council voted to repeal the residency requirement almost a year after it was added to the charter. Mayor Billy Barlow said it's a burden to families who may have to live in another area that has the services their families need. And, he said it hinders the hiring process.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego officials are wrestling with how to handle street parking during winter months. An unsuccessful alternate side parking plan from 2015 prevented snowplows from effectively clearing city roads, leading Oswego's new mayor to implement an overnight parking ban this year. But, the city's residents are not satisfied with the move.  

Paul Downey / Flickr

New York's statewide poverty rate is 16 percent, but in upstate cities, that number doubles. In Syracuse, more than 1/3 of the residents live in poverty. Syracuse also ranks the highest nationwide for its concentration of minorities in poverty.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego's new mayor, William Barlow, said 2016 is a new beginning for the port city.

At his inauguration ceremony, Barlow wasted no time acknowledging that the Port City faces several uphill battles tied to city's finances. Still, he said the community has faced adversity before. Others, like former Common Councilor Michael Todd, are not quite so optimistic.

"There’s so many fires to put out, people are doing triage to try and fix what few things they can fix because the problem is so great and there’s no clear solution," Todd said.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

A group of distraught parents voiced their concerns about bullying cases to the Oswego school board Monday. They accused the administration at Oswego High School of not properly responding to several attacks last year, may of which were caught on tape. Theresa Gibson told the board that her nephew was one of those victims.

BaronBrian / Flickr

A resolution that would have reversed the increase in Oswego's sewer and water rates was removed from consideration Monday at the Common Council meeting. Councilor Pat McLaughlin said he withdrew his motion because he and Oswego Mayor William Barlow are looking at alternative ways to pay for the federally mandated repair of its sewer pipelines and water treatment plants.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO News File Photo

In his first executive action, Oswego Mayor William Barlow restored the winter parking ban on city streets and highways from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. It's a reversal from the contentious policy last year of alternate side parking, which former Mayor Thomas Gillen implemented.

The ban is effective immediately, pending approval from the Oswego Common Council's traffic committee, which Barlow said is "very, very likely."

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Anger was palpable at Oswego's Common Council meeting Monday evening over an increase in sewer and water rates. 

Many in the crowd voiced their displeasure with the Council for its December vote that increased flat water rates by $212 a year and metered rates by $152 a year. Some residents feel the cost of living in the city is becoming too high.

Beit Hatfutsut Museum / Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Museum

When Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump suggested recently that the U.S. should block Muslims from entering the country over fears of terrorism, he cited former President Franklin Roosevelt's infamous decision to place some Japanese citizens into internment camps following the attacks on Pearl Harbor. But, FDR also opened a different kind of camp in Oswego in spite of the anti-immigration sentiment from Congress at the time.

The city of Oswego faces many of the same economic challenges facing cities all over upstate New York, including plant closings and the flight of you, educated adults from the area. One young adult who has stayed in Oswego is Billy Barlow. At 25, Barlow was elected mayor of Oswego and will be the youngest mayor in the state when he takes office in January. 

Payne Horning, Leah Landry / WRVO News

Oswego officials commemorated the completion of its $19 million breakwater wall renovation Wednesday. The Oswego Harbor's wall stops incoming waves, but the magnitude of 2012's Superstorm Sandy devastated the structure.

"Just three years ago, Superstorm Sandy ravaged the northeast," said Lt. Col. Karl Jansen, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Buffalo district. "A lot of that attention goes to the Atlantic coast, but it impacted the great lakes, Lake Ontario and Lake Erie to a degree as well."

Local elections were held around the country last Tuesday, and while the Syracuse region did not contain the drama of the Kentucky governor’s race or the Houston equal rights ordinance, there were nonetheless some local results of note, and some tea leaves embedded in the details of expected outcomes.  This week on the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher mines those with two local political reporters, Teri Weaver of the Syracuse Post-Standard and Ellen Abbot of WRVO Public Media. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego has elected its youngest mayor in city history. The 25-year-old Republican Billy Barlow captured 54 percent of the vote, solidly defeating his Democratic challenger Amy Tresidder by 12 points.

Barlow's youth became a focus point early on in the race. Tresidder, a grandmother with six years of experience on the Oswego County Legislature, stressed that Oswego needs maturity and experienced leadership. In one campaign advertisement, she noted that Barlow doesn't pay property tax or utility bills because he lives with his parents.

Oswego mayoral election features three candidates

Oct 28, 2015
Leah Landry, Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego Mayor Tom Gillen is running for reelection next week, but you won’t see his name on the ballot. The Democrat is a write-in candidate. His message this campaign season: Rome wasn’t built in a day. His opponents, Republican Billy Barlow and Democrat Amy Tresidder are calling for change while Gillen is asking for patience.

“People have this conception of the mayor being this Wizard of Oz who can make things happen," Gillen said. "Believe me, my hands are tied most of the time.”

Payne Horning / WRVO News

This isn't your typical mayoral election.

Oswego's incumbent Mayor Tom Gillen, who was elected as a Democrat in 2011, didn't receive his party's endorsement this time around. So, he's running as a write-in candidate. Oswego County Legislator Amy Tresidder is running on the Democrat line. If Tresidder wins, she would be the first female mayor in Oswego history. The Republican candidate, Common Councilman Billy Barlow, would be the city's youngest executive ever at age 25 if he wins in November.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

The freezing weather continues around central and northern New York and that's causing problems for homeowners dealing with frozen pipes. The problem has gotten so bad in the city of Oswego, that Mayor Tom Gillen has declared a state of emergency in the city.

In a news release, Gillen says that at least 25 homes in several neighborhoods have no water due to frozen pipes. Without water, some residents are left with no heat as well. Gillen says it could be several days before all the pipes are thawed and residents have their water running again.

Oswego restaurant hosts annual free Thanksgiving dinner

Nov 27, 2014
Gino Geruntino / WRVO

Across central new York, charity groups are hosting Thanksgiving dinners for the area's less fortunate. But in the city of Oswego, one restaurant owner is expanding on that idea and inviting the entire community to join in.

Nestled in La Parrilla's small kitchen, Ray Jock and his sous chef Jim Toy work to prep food for the evening's dinner service. While the two men discuss specials amid the hiss of grilling squash and the clanging of pots and pans, the pair also creates a game plan for their Thanksgiving meal.
 

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