Oswego County

New York State Assembly

Assemblyman Bob Oaks (R-Macedon), who has represented Wayne County and parts of Cayuga and Oswego counties for 26 years, is retiring, and the vacancy is attracting familiar candidates.

Oaks was first elected to the Assembly in 1992 and rose through the ranks of the GOP, eventually becoming the ranking minority member of the Assembly's Ways and Means Committee that oversees fiscal policy. In a statement, the Republican said he wants to spend more time with his grandchildren and pass on the torch.

Don McCullough / via Flickr

Oswego County's airport will become part of the 50-mile drone corridor project that developers are building in central New York to test the unmanned aerial vehicles.

New York State Court of Appeals

The attorney for the man convicted of kidnapping Heidi Allen from a New Haven convenience store in 1994 argued before New York state's highest court Thursday about why he deserves a new trial.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

New York state's highest court will hear arguments today about whether the man convicted of kidnapping Heidi Allen from a New Haven convenience store in 1994 should get a new trial. It could be the last shot Gary Thibodeau has to overturn his 25 years-to-life sentence.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

New York state lawmakers have included $40 million dollars in this year's budget to help property owners who are still cleaning up from last year's flooding along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) is calling on the federal government to release the funding that was included in Congress' recently passed budget to battle the opioid epidemic. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

A U.S. appeals court has overturned a ruling that would have required Novelis, an Oswego County aluminum plant, to work with its employees on forming a union.

"We are very pleased with the ruling to reverse the August 2016 bargaining order of the National Labor Relations Board, which would have forced employees at the Novelis Oswego facility to accept the United Steelworkers as their bargaining representative," said plant manager Kevin Shutt in a statement. "We look forward to continuing to partner with our employees to serve our customers."

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Town of Oswego in Oswego County is working to improve its finances after a state audit revealed mismanagement that contributed to the loss of nearly 90 percent of its reserves.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego County's first social adult day care program is offering families a safe and engaging place to take their relatives who are elderly or suffer from a functional impairment like Alzheimer's. 

St. Luke's Cornerstone Club in Fulton considers itself somewhere between a senior center and a nursing home. Families can drop off their loved ones during the week when they go to work or run errands while their loved ones socialize, play games and eat lunch - all under the supervision of health care professionals.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

Onondaga County filed a lawsuit in federal court Tuesday against pharmaceutical companies and others for their part in the continuing opioid crisis.

The county is accusing drug companies and distributors of painkillers made from opioids of downplaying the risks of those kinds of drugs that have fueled a nationwide epidemic of opioid addiction. Onondaga County in particular has been hit hard by the epidemic, with the number of opioid-related deaths tripling since 2012. 

County Executive Joanie Mahoney says the county bears a cost from this suffering on a couple of fronts.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

When the parishioners at one Oswego County church gather for worship each week, many of them are armed. And it's no secret. The Lighthouse Mexico Church of God even advertises that its not a gun-free zone - a response to the frequent mass shootings in the country that's the subject of some debate.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego County is the latest New York county to file a lawsuit against drug manufacturers and distributors for the costs its incurred dealing with the opioid crisis.

In the lawsuit, Oswego County says it lost at least 67 residents to opioid-related overdoses between 2009 and 2014. And the number of emergency department admissions related to opioids in 2014 increased 113 percent from 2010.

It's financially strained Oswego County's government, including social services, the judicial system and law enforcement.

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 (file photo)

At the Novelis Aluminum plant in Oswego County, metal is processed for automotive companies like Ford, Toyota and General Motors. Novelis uses a lot of recycled metal, but most of its primary aluminum comes from Canada. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News (file photo)

The federal government is now offering funding and resources to upstate counties devastated by the flooding along Lake Ontario this year, after President Trump declared parts of the region a federal disaster area earlier this week.

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.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Last year an arranged meeting in the Oswego County village of Phoenix to purchase a pair of sneakers went horribly wrong. The village resident was conned by the people who agreed to sell him the shoes. They robbed and shot him.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oneida County is submitting its mandated consolidation plan to the state. The objective is to realize tax savings, but both those in favor and against the plan say it does not go far enough.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

At a special state hearing in Oswego County Tuesday, government officials admitted that there's effectively no way to prevent Lake Ontario from once again reaching the record high levels seen this year. In fact, they said it's bound to happen again. But, they think there may be ways to reduce the amount of damage the flooding caused along the shoreline.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Homeowners who sustained damage from this year's flooding along Lake Ontario have until 5 p.m. Friday to apply for financial aid from the state. New York leaders appropriated millions of dollars this year to help residents recover from historically high water levels, but there may not be enough to go around.

401(K) 2012 / Flickr

Every year, local leaders assess the value of a municipality's property. The goal is to assess them at fair market value so all property owners are paying their share of county and school district taxes.

New York state has upheld Scriba's assessment every year since 2002. But this year, the state said the Oswego County town was undervaluing its worth, giving it a rating of 86 percent on a 100 scale. As a result, Scriba town attorney Kevin Caraccioli estimates that a house worth $100,000 will pay about $300 more in school taxes this year.

Oswego County Health Department / Google Maps

The Oswego County Health Department says the aerial spraying this week to prevent the spread of mosquito-borne diseases was successful in reducing the insect's population, but officials warn that the threat is still out there.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Every summer, 60,000-90,000 people from all over the country come to a sprawling forest in Oswego County for a unique medieval-style experience every summer. The Sterling Renaissance Festival, set in the 16th century town of Warwick, England, gives visitors a chance to experience life as it was then.

WRVO's Payne Horning visited the renowned festival and sent this audio post card.

The Sterling Renaissance Festival runs through August 13.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

State lawmakers say help is finally here for the property owners who have experienced damage from flooding along Lake Ontario this year. Community leaders are organizing residents as the state prepares to distribute the recovery funding.

Constellation Energy Group

The historically high water levels in Lake Ontario this year have threatened homeowners, municipalities and nuclear power plants - almost triggering emergency action at the Nine Mile Point Nuclear Facility in Oswego County.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The first Democratic challenger to central New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) has joined the race. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

As residents along Lake Ontario try to clean up from this year's flooding, state officials are warning about the health risks the situation poses. 

The Oswego County Health Department is offering resident's free Tdap -- or tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis vaccine -- shots for those affected by the flooding.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo called it the largest public acquisition of land in central New York in more than 45 years. The state now owns 6,000 acres of land along and around the Salmon River, which is a major economic and tourism asset for Oswego County.

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."

Cathy Goodnough

Lake Ontario is now 33 inches above its long-term average and it's not yet at its peak. That sustained flooding is threatening residents along the shorelines and scientists say it is also taking a toll on the environment.

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