Oswego County

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.

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.

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