Oswego County

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.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Powerful winds and thunderstorms are mixing with the high water levels in Lake Ontario to wreak havoc on homeowners along the shoreline. It's prompting New York state to declare a state of emergency for Oswego, Jefferson, Cayuga and other counties along Lake Ontario.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Water levels continue to rise on Lake Ontario, and the National Weather Service has issued a Lakeshore Flood Warning for Oswego and Jefferson counties from 4 p.m. Tuesday until 4 p.m. Wednesday. 

Jason Smith / WRVO News File Photo

More communities along the shoreline of Lake Ontario are being threatened as water levels continue to rise. As of April 24, water levels are more than 20 inches above the average for this time of year.

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. 

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

The transfer of the FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant to its new owner is officially complete. Exelon, which owns and operates the nearby Nine Mile Point Nuclear Facility Exelon, announced Friday that its negotiations with Entergy are done. The company bought the Oswego County plant last summer for $110 million. 

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

New York's subsidy program to support financially impaired nuclear power plants has been caught up in the budget negotiations as some lawmakers are trying to halt the program right before it begins. 

U.S. Census Bureau / Empire Center for Public Policy

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that New York's statewide population fell for the first time in a decade, largely a result of upstate population losses outpacing the gains made downstate.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Central New York lawmakers and leaders are applauding the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's approval of the sale of the FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant as the final step needed to ensure its continued operation, but there's still some work to be done.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego County is embarking on its first comprehensive economic study in decades. The county legislature and Oswego County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) will split the cost of hiring a Saratoga Springs-based consultant to develop a plan for advancing the local economy. The goal is to identify impediments to economic growth and untapped development opportunities.

Michael Treadwell is the CEO of the Oswego County IDA. He says the study will also offer a fresh perspective on what existing assets the county can use to spur economic growth.

Claudia Tenney for Congress / claudiatenney.com

Mohawk Valley Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford) says she has faced some obstacles during her first month in office. In addition to trying to adjust to a new job on Capitol Hill, the freshman congresswoman has been struggling to open offices and telephone lines in her district. 

Tenney currently only has one office, which is located in New Hartford. It just got a permanent telephone line. That has angered some of Tenney's constituents, including one who voiced concern at a Utica legislative forum in January.

Fulton leaders opt against dissolution

Feb 1, 2017
Gino Geruntino / WRVO News File Photo

Fulton lawmakers have decided against pursuing a proposal to dissolve the city.

Oswego County Legislator Frank Castiglia of Fulton had encouraged the common council to apply for a state-funded study that would have considered the benefits of splitting the city in two and combining it with the nearby villages of Granby and Volney. The idea was an attempt to cut public service costs for Fulton's residents, whose taxes are increasing as the population declines.

Great Lake Ontario National Marine Sanctuary

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has lent his support to an effort to make part of Lake Ontario a national marine sanctuary. The goal is to preserve dozens of known and unknown historic shipwrecks in the southeastern portion of the lake for further study.

Oswego, Jefferson, Wayne and Cayuga counties put together an application after the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) decided to add to its current list of 14 marine sanctuaries. Now with Cuomo's approval, the counties can submit their application for further consideration. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Employees at the FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant have taken the facility offline to begin the refueling process, a reality that seemed almost impossible one year ago. FitzPatrick was rescued from closure last summer when Exelon agreed to buy it after New York state approved a massive nuclear subsidy program.  

Payne Horning / WRVO News

More than a century ago, Fulton was formed when the villages of Oswego Falls and Fulton, which were separated by the Oswego River, merged. Oswego County Legislator Frank Castiglia says now, it's time for the city to split into two again.

Castiglia says the cost of maintaining a police and fire department for the city of 11,000 is ballooning beyond what Fulton residents can afford.

"We don’t have the people, the population or the industry in this city to support the costs for those public safety departments," Castiglia said. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

A new book from a central New York author details the legacy of a group called the the Oswego County Pioneers, the first organized volunteer search and rescue team created in the state.

Volunteer search and rescue teams may be ubiquitous today, but local historian Jim Farfaglia says that wasn't the case in New York 50 years ago. He says the effort to find missing persons was chaotic.

Oswego Health

Oswego Health is beginning the search for a new CEO, marking the second time in two years that the healthcare company has gone through a change in leadership.

Oswego Health encompasses about 1,250 employees in its hospital, nursing home, independent retirement community and other services in Oswego County. Chuck Gijanto has served as the organization's president and CEO since September 2015. Oswego Health Board of Directors President Adam Gagas says he was initially brought in to help with the company's first leadership change.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego County passed its 2017 budget last night, with no increase in the tax rate. The legislature also voted to increase the salary for several county administrators.

The 14 percent raises for the county clerk, treasurer and sheriff will be phased in over a four-year period. Many legislators agreed that the raises were overdue, but the Democrats wanted the four raises to kick in after each election rather than all at once. That amendment was defeated along party lines.

Majority leader Shane Broadwell says the raises make up for years of delayed increases.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

The New York Public Service Commission (PSC) voted unanimously Thursday to approve the sale of the FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant, an essential component to its completion. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Unofficial election results show a slight increase in turnout among New Yorkers this year as compared to 2012, but turnout in many northern and central New York counties decreased.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Election day is just a week away and New York's county boards of election are prepping for what's expected to be a large turnout. 

Madison County Board of Elections

A New York state judge has ruled against 22nd Congressional District candidate Martin Babinec in a case related to the party he created for his independent run.

When the entrepreneur petitioned for endorsements from the 22nd District's Republican county committees earlier this year, he found little success. So Babinec exited the race and created his own party. Babinec's campaign collected 10,000 signatures to establish the Upstate Jobs Party.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Inside a classroom in Mexico, ninth grade students discuss the benefits of recycling with their teacher. They're thinking about how it can help the environment and a company's bottom line.  

"Do you think recycling is going to be a part of their work there?" teacher Brian Heffron asks.

"Yes, because they want to save a lot of money to keep the place running," a student responds. 

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