Oswego

Payne Horning / WRVO News

City officials and area leaders in Oswego are putting together an application for Gov. Andrew Cuomo's downtown revitalization initiative competition that will award $10 million to 10 New York communities.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Officials working on a project to revitalize the 3.8 miles of State Route 104 that runs through the city of Oswego say improving the road's safety is a chief concern among residents. The 104 streetscape project was intended to enhance the aesthetics of the road and its surrounding sidewalks and businesses, but feedback from locals is mostly centered around safety.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

For the second time in a week, Oswego police and fire services responded to a bomb scare Thursday at one of the city's schools.

Notes were left at the Oswego High School on May 10 and at the middle school Thursday morning, both warning of a bomb. In both instances, the school buildings were evacuated and the threats were determined to be not credible.

The Oswego City Police Department says it has identified a female student at the middle school as a possible suspect. They are still investigating the threat made to the high school.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Oswego Common Council passed a law that requires second-hand stores, like pawn shops, to keep a detailed record of any items they buy and who sells it to them so police can track down stolen material. And, the stores would also have to keep any items they buy on the shelves for at least a week. It's modeled after similar anti-burglary laws in Syracuse, Onondaga county and Fulton.

Jason Braun, owner of the Wise Guyz pawn shop in Fulton, said the change will mean fewer thieves will be able to exploit unregulated Oswego pawn shops.

Kevin Withus

Friday marks the last day of classes for SUNY Oswego students for the year, which means the return of the annual bar crawl, Bridge Street Run (BSR). While BSR is considered a long-time college tradition, SUNY Oswego is hoping to build its own tradition as an alternative.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Oswego school officials hope a public hearing on its budget crisis Tuesday will alert state lawmakers to what they call a broken funding formula. The school district is wrestling with declining tax revenues and reserve funds, which has resulted in a proposed budget that cuts more than 50 jobs.

"This is an era of financial difficulty for our district that we have to weather over the next three years after this year," said Oswego City School District Superintendent Dean Goewey, the architect of the controversial budget that slashes more than $5 million.

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."

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