Oswego County

Payne Horning / WRVO News

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

Novelis, the aluminum manufacturing plant in Oswego County, unveiled a new $120 million addition to its operation Monday. The "automotive finishing line" takes strips of aluminum through furnaces, coolers and chemicals to strengthen the metal. It was designed specifically for the 2017 Ford Super Duty truck.

Kevin Schutt, the Novelis plant manager in Oswego, said with more aluminum, trucks can increase their payload and towing capacity. It's part of an industry-wide shift toward more lightweight vehicles for superior fuel efficiency. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The impending closure of the Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Oswego County is already financially impacting the nearby Mexico School District. School district officials are planning for the loss of $2.8 million this year alone.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

The New York State Legislature has set aside $30 million in its new budget for communities devastated by closing power plants that result in at least a 20 percent reduction in the local property tax collections. It's intended to help offset the loss in places like Oswego County where the Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Plant is slated to be shutdown in January.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

When Melissa Ives was recovering from a brutal motorcycle accident, the opioid medication she was prescribed helped mask the pain. But eventually, those pills ran out so she turned to a cheaper alternative - heroin.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Scriba town's highway superintendent appeared in court this week for the first time since he was arrested and charged with a DWI last year. Mike Barry, who had a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .14 when he was arrested in July 2015, had delayed the court hearing several times -- after his election in November and past a planned February referendum intended to replace him, which has since been delayed.

www.co.oswego.ny.us

A judge has denied a request for a new trial in the 20-year-old Heidi Allen disappearance case.

The man who was convicted of kidnapping her from a New Haven convenience store, Gary Thibodeau, claims that new evidence has surfaced since the original trial that exonerates him. But, more than a year after the hearing for a new trial began, the judge denied the request.

His attorney, Lisa Peebles, said the ruling is disappointing but expected.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Five Oswego County legislators who failed to fill out a required oath of office form will now have to run for reelection this fall despite being elected to a two-year term last November.

All elected county officials must sign an oath of office card by February 1, but several members, Margaret Kastler of Lacona, Milferd Potter of Pulaski, Shawn Doyle of Pulaski, Robert Hayes of Phoenix and Jim Karasek of Fulton, failed to submit the form in time. Karasek said he was preoccupied dealing with a medical issue.

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.

kristen_a / Flickr

Not even a week into the job and officials in the town of Scriba are already trying to fire the new superintendent of highways.

Superintendent Mike Barry was arrested in July 2015, registering a blood alcohol content of .14, his second DWI charge in recent years. Then in November, Barry was elected as the town's next superintendent of highways in Scriba. Scriba town Supervisor Ken Burdick said that only happened because the town was unaware of the charge until after the election.

Credit Diliff / Wikimedia Commons

A study is underway that some New York officials are hoping will save Oswego County's FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant.

When Entergy notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in November that it planned to close the FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant in about a year, it triggered a ninety-day study. 

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the $500 million Upstate Revitalization Initiative award to central New York signals a turning of the tide for the area. The region's economic development plan was one of three big winners in Cuomo's competition to invest $1.5 billion in upstate. At a ceremony in Syracuse Sunday to commemorate the region's success, Cuomo said this investment in upstate rights a wrong.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

As New York's unemployment rate continues to fall -- even surpassing the national average -- Oswego County is being left behind. Its latest unemployment rate was the second worst in the state.

"Like the rest of the country, you were hit pretty hard by the recession. But unlike other parts of the country that started pulling out and growing jobs after the great recession, you all flat lined and created a new normal," said Rob Krupricka, a consultant Oswego County hired to study its stagnating economy.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

As the state plans to implement the governor's goal for double the amount of renewable energy on the market, a new study says losing upstate nuclear power plants would be a major set back for the initiative. The findings suggest that without nuclear power utilities would turn to fossil fuels over renewable sources.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

A new plan has been proposed to keep the Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Oswego County open. But it may not be enough.

When Entergy announced earlier this month that it will close the Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Plant, they cited potential economic losses. Yet some New York officials are suggesting that wasn't the whole story.

"Placing our families and students in the cross hairs in the Indian Point debate is unacceptable," said Sean Bruno, the Mexico School District superintendent. He said Fitzpatrick is being used as leverage.

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."

County of Oswego Industrial Development Agency

Entergy said it will close the FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant because it wasn't economically viable. Gov. Andrew Cuomo scolded that statement, saying there is much more in a company's "bottom line." As uncertainty about the plant's future grows, a new campaign to keep FitzPatrick open is putting a face on the issue.

Entergy

“Never say never, but highly unlikely.” That’s what Entergy spokesman Jerry Nappi said Tuesday about the possibility of the company reversing course and keeping open the FitzPatrick nuclear plant near Oswego.

"This decision, we view it as a final decision," said Nappi. "It’s one the company made reluctantly, because the plant is very well run. It’s just not economically viable."

Entergy says cheap natural gas is bringing down wholesale electricity prices. Operating the plant, the company says, has cost it $60 million.

SU professional and technical writing / via Flickr

A six-year highway funding bill passed by the House of Representatives last week would remove $564 million from New York's current federal transportation funding.

A last-minute amendment to the House bill would move $1.6 billion in funding from seven Northeastern states to a general discretionary fund for use by the entire nation. Current law allows these high density areas to receive the extra funding because they account for half of all transit in the country. Sen. Charles Schumer said the loss of funding for New York is a travesty for the state's transit system.

Senate Democrats / Flickr

Local, state, and federal officials are scrambling to figure out ways to stop Entergy from closing the FitzPatrick Nuclear Power plant in Oswego County. The company announced Monday that it will close down the unprofitable plant after the reactor runs out of fuel in late 2016 or early 2017. Among those looking to find ways to keep the plant on the grid, is U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, who intended to make an angry phone call to the CEO of Entergy. 

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Elected officials from the local, state and congressional level have organized a rally in support of the FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Oswego County. This comes after news that there is a possibility that it could close. Lower electricity prices are squeezing the profits from some nuclear plants. 

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

One of the big questions in the wake of the state’s renovation of the New York state fairgrounds near Syracuse, was what will happen to Super Dirt Week once the grandstand and track come down. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, during his "Capital for a Day" visit in Syracuse Wednesday, announced that Oswego County will reap the economic benefits of the popular event.

Gravitywave / via Flickr

An Oswego County resident is hospitalized in critical condition, after contracting Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or EEE. According to Oswego County health officials, the victim is a resident of the Town of Albion. This is the second human case of EEE this year. Earlier this month, an Onondaga County resident died after contracting the deadly virus, which is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito.

www.co.oswego.ny.us

The Oswego County hearing in the case of Heidi Allen resumes Tuesday after a six-week break. Gary Thibodeau is seeking a new trial, claiming there is new evidence pointing toward his innocence. He was convicted of kidnapping Allen from the convenience store where she worked in New Haven more than 20 years ago. The defense wrapped its case last month, but Syracuse Post-Standard reporter John O'Brien, who has been covering the hearing, reports that Thibodeau's attorney has asked the judge if she can call new witnesses before the prosecution begins its case.

Hearing in Heidi Allen case scheduled to resume Tuesday

Mar 23, 2015
www.co.oswego.ny.us

The Oswego County hearing in the case of Heidi Allen resumes tomorrow after a six-week break. Gary Thibodeau is seeking a new trial. He was convicted of kidnapping Allen more than 20 years ago. Allen was 18 when she disappeared while working at a convenience store in New Haven. WRVO news director Catherine Loper spoke with Syracuse Post-Standard reporter John O'Brien who has been covering this hearing from the beginning.

Catherine Loper: Can you bring us up to date on what happened when the hearing ended?

Constellation Energy Group

An Oswego County nuclear plant was shut down Wednesday, after water levels in the reactor increased. The Nine Mile Point Unit 2 reactor was shut down just after 2 p.m. Wednesday. 

According to a spokeswoman with Constellation Energy, which owns the plant, water levels have returned to normal. The plant remains offline while technicians look for the cause of the problem. 

The Nine Mile Unit 1 reactor was not affected and continues to operate at 100 percent power. 

Hearing in Heidi Allen case resumes this morning

Feb 3, 2015
www.co.oswego.ny.us

The Oswego County court hearing in the 20-year old case of missing teenager Heidi Allen resumes today after a two-week break. Gary Thibodeau, who was convicted of kidnapping Allen, has always maintained his innocence. WRVO news director Catherine Loper interviewed Syracuse Post-Standard reporter John O'Brien, who has been covering the story non-stop since last May, and has been in the courtroom everyday of this hearing.

David Chanatry/New York State Reporting Project

A thiamine deficiency might be to blame for a recent die-off of steelhead trout in the Salmon River.

The Department of Environmental Conservation says it began receiving reports about steelhead trout swimming erratically and dying in the Salmon River and other rivers off Lake Ontario last month. Three fish were sent to Cornell's Aquatic Animal Health Lab, where research scientist Rod Getchell examined the fish for diseases.

Pages