Wed January 8, 2014
Politics and Government

Cuomo, Biden meet on infrastructure rebuilding plans

Gov. Andrew Cuomo hosted Vice President Joe Biden to talk about new ways of rebuilding infrastructure after damaging storms. The two are potential presidential contenders in 2016, if Hillary Clinton doesn’t run. But they had nothing but praise for one another.  

New York state received $6 billion in federal aid after Superstorm Sandy, and Cuomo Biden to the State Capitol, to show him how he’s spending the money.

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Tue December 31, 2013
Regional Coverage

Governor announces $4.5 million to boost winter tourism upstate

Governor Andrew Cuomo, at the Valley Snow Travelers snowmobile club groomer barn in Lowville, Lewis County.
Joanna Richards

Governor Andrew Cuomo visited a newly expanded snowmobiler lounge in Lowville Monday to unveil a new ad campaign to promote winter tourism upstate. Cuomo says there’s new energy in the north country, thanks to increasing economic investment. He credits the efforts of both the region and his administration in making that happen.  

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Fri December 20, 2013
Politics and Government

Comptroller says state probably can afford tax cuts, but just barely

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says he’ll need to see more details and end of the calendar year state revenue figures before deciding whether the state can afford $2 billion in new tax cuts that Gov. Andrew Cuomo is likely to propose.

Governor Cuomo says he thinks if state spending is held to a 2 percent growth rate next year, there will be enough money in the state budget to finance $2 billion worth of property and business tax cuts.

Comptroller DiNapoli says he’s not so sure it will all add up.

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Tue December 3, 2013
Regional Coverage

Clayton supervisor fingered in Inspector General's report for misusing state vehicle

Clayton Town Supervisor Justin Taylor
David Sommerstein/NCPR

An Inspector General's report finds that Clayton's town supervisor is among dozens of current and former state prison officials who misused their work-issued vehicles at taxpayer expense. 

The report says 80 members of the Corrections Department leadership used their state vehicles mostly to commute to and from work for years. They did so with the blessing of former department Commissioner Brian Fischer. He continued to approve the practice long after a 2009 state policy shift meant to rein in such excesses.

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Wed November 6, 2013
Election 2013

Republicans maintain 'super majority' in Onondaga County legislature

Onondaga County Republican Party Chairman Tom Dadey, who didn't have much to celebrate Tuesday night.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Absentee ballots still need to be counted, but Democrats appear to clawed back a seat on the Onondaga County Legislature. Republicans, though, are playing up the fact that they will maintain a 'super majority' in the body.

Republicans didn't have much else to celebrate Tuesday as they didn't put anyone up in the mayor's race and lost at least one of the two Common Council races they were contesting.

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Wed November 6, 2013
Election 2013

GOP hoping to edge out a spot on Syracuse's Common Council

Republican Joe Carni trails Democratic Common Councilor Jake Barrett by just a few dozen votes in Syracuse's First District.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Syracuse Republicans are just a few dozen votes shy of winning back a city office as a race for Common Council will come down to absentee ballots, but the rest of city hall remained solidly Democratic after Tuesday's election.

The two new faces we know of for sure on the Common Council are Chad Ryan in the Second District and Pamela Hunter in an at-large spot. Ryan won Pat Hogan’s old seat, who was term-limited, by beating Republican Alex Walsh with 59 percent of the unofficial vote.

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Sun November 3, 2013
Regional Coverage

Watertown council candidates get last word before election day

City Council Candidate Stephen Jennings tells a small audience at the Italian-American Civic Association in Watertown that he wants to get the city involved in improving deteriorating neighborhoods.
Joanna Richards

Watertown's City Council hopefuls got one final chance before tomorrow's election to make their case at a meet-the-candidates event last week. The four opponents advocate different roles for city government. 

The race pits two incumbents who see a limited role for city government against a pair of political newcomers with broader visions for what the council can do to improve residents' lives. 

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Mon October 28, 2013

Hillary Clinton to Colgate: we 'need to roll up our sleeves together'

Hillary Clinton gave a lecture at Colgate University where she told students to prepare themselves to lead in the ways the 21st century demands.
Courtesy Andy Daddio Colgate University

There were no veiled questions of her political aspirations, and thus Hillary Clinton made no mention of whether she'll run for office again in a lecture at Colgate University in Hamilton Friday evening.

It was the former secretary of state and U.S. senator's second speech in central New York in three weeks. She spoke at Hamilton College on Oct. 4. It's been part of a series of lectures Clinton has been giving, on college campuses and to private functions.

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Tue October 22, 2013
Politics and Government

Moreland Commission co-chair not surprised by survey results

File photo
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

A Siena College poll this week shows that most New Yorkers don't know about the Moreland Commission, a panel of district attorneys and law enforcement officials investigating public corruption in Albany.

Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick, co-chair of the Moreland Commission, says it doesn't bother him that many New Yorkers are unaware of the group's probes into public corruption. But he expects that'll change December 1, when the Moreland Commission releases it's report.

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Thu October 17, 2013

Greens call for more state aid and local income tax

Kevin Bott, the Green Party candidate for Syracuse mayor, says a scaled local income tax would not be a burden.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Syracuse’s Green Party office seekers want to see state aid return to historic levels and a new scaled local income tax on city residents and those that work in it.

Mayoral candidate Kevin Bott and Common Council hopeful Howie Hawkins say that will help solve the city’s fiscal problems.

Low wage earners would pay less than a percent on their income and it would work up to a few percentage points for higher earners, they propose.

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Tue October 8, 2013
Regional Coverage

Navigators, private brokers tackle new insurance exchange

Donna Hynes, an official New York state health insurance exchange "navigator," says many people are on her waiting list for appointments to get help shopping for plans.
Joanna Richards

Most people have heard of “navigators” for the new health insurance exchanges. They're the trained, impartial guides funded by the federal government to help people make more informed choices as they shop for policies. And then there are private insurance brokers...there's been less talk about it, but they, too, can help consumers sign up for plans.

On the exchanges' first days, both kinds of guides were busy on the front lines of this major policy shift.

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Mon October 7, 2013

Hillary Clinton hits local ties in speech at Hamilton College

Hillary Clinton spoke to more than 6,000 people at Hamilton College Friday night.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Hillary Clinton seamlessly weaved local politics and foreign affairs in a speech to a packed house at Hamilton College Friday evening.

The former first lady, U.S. senator, presidential candidate and secretary of state had plenty of experience to dip into as she talked about current issues facing the nation like the government shutdown and U.S. foreign policy in Asia.

About 6,000 people packed into the field house at the small college, some sporting old campaign buttons and signs. Applause was boisterous anytime she mentioned youth or shared a local story.

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Fri September 20, 2013

North Country farmers tell lawmakers regs too big a burden

State senators listen to a farmer detail his frustrations with onerous government regulation at a forum Thursday in Watertown. From left are senators David Valesky, Patrick Gallivan, Patty Ritchie, and Kathleen Marchione.
Credit Joanna Richards

Farmers and agricultural industry leaders in the North Country had the ears of state lawmakers yesterday in Watertown. The forum, hosted by State Senator Patty Ritchie, was one of 10 being held throughout the state on the topic of regulatory reform in a variety of industries.

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Fri September 6, 2013
Regional Coverage

Watertown meets primary candidates for City Council

From left, Stephen Jennings, Jasmine Borreggine, Jeff Smith, Teresa Macaluso, Rod LaFave, and Cody Horbacz listen as local media figures ask questions during a City Council primary Meet-the-Candidates event Thursday night at the Italian-American Civic Association in Watertown.
Credit Joanna Richards

Watertown is holding a primary election next Tuesday for two seats on the City Council. The election is non-partisan, so all six candidates are running for the chance to move on to the general election in November. A Meet-the-Candidates event was held Thursday at the city's Italian-American Civic Association.


The candidates weighed in on issues ranging from economic development, to fluoride in the water supply, to making Watertown a more welcoming place for dogs during the two-hour question-and-answer session. Several dozen people came to listen.

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Tue August 20, 2013

Hogan wants to put more focus on city neighborhoods

Syracuse Common Councilor Pat Hogan, a Democrat, discusses his plans for city neighborhoods.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Syracuse Common Councilor Pat Hogan unveiled the final platform of his campaign challenge to unseat Mayor Stephanie Miner on Monday with his neighborhood agenda.

The Democratic challenger says he wants to put a new focus on the city’s diverse neighborhoods by promoting local businesses and supporting neighborhood associations.

Hogan is challenging current mayor Miner as well as Alfonso Davis in a party primary.

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Tue August 20, 2013
Obama visit to Syracuse

Hundreds try for tickets to see President Obama's bus tour

Several hundred people lined up Monday night and Tuesday morning outside Henninger High School in Syracuse for tickets to see President Obama Thursday.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

As the sun heated up the parking lot outside Henninger High School this morning, umbrellas and other makeshift sources of shade began to replace pillows and blankets.

Some people had been in line since 7 p.m. Monday, shortly after details of President Barack Obama's visit to Syracuse were released, in hopes of getting tickets to see him give a speech at the high school Thursday evening about making education more affordable.

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Tue August 20, 2013
Obama visit to Syracuse

Tickets for President Obama visit to Syracuse to be made available Tuesday

President Obama gives a speech in Arizona, Aug. 2013
Credit whitehouse.gov

President Barack Obama will visit the Syracuse area this week, giving a speech at Henninger High School on the importance of an affordable education. The president's speech is expected to begin at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday.

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Mon August 12, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo spending his time upstate this summer

NYS Governor's Office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s name is frequently mentioned as a possible presidential contender in 2016 -- that is if Hillary Clinton doesn’t run. But first, the governor has to think about  his 2014 re-election race and how to shore up his support in upstate, where he’s been flagging in the polls.   

During the past several weeks, Cuomo has spent much of his time in upstate New York.

He paddled in a whitewater rafting contest he organized in the Adirondacks, to boost tourism.

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Tue July 16, 2013

Binghamton urban farmers ask city for laws to ease expansion

Johan Jelsma at his garden in Binghamton.
Matt Richmond/Innovation Trail

Johan Jelsma is taking me on a tour of his garden on the West Side of Binghamton. He rattles off the names of plants in just one small patch of his yard:

“Eggplants, Brussels sprouts, a little bit of remnants of peas left and cucumber, melon.”

Jelsma's entire yard is taken over by a garden of vegetables, fruit trees and flowers. He says some passersby describe it as the wild yard.

“I didn’t like grass per se. I mean I like laying on it, I like running but I definitely don’t enjoy mowing.”

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Tue July 9, 2013
Regional Coverage

Protesters pressure Watertown Walmart on animal welfare

Crystal Gordon and Jeni Haines, animal welfare activists with the L.A.-based Mercy For Animals, demonstrate outside Watertown's Walmart store Monday morning.
Joanna Richards WRVO

Animal welfare demonstrators caught motorists' and shoppers' attention Monday morning along Watertown's busy Arsenal Street. A giant balloon showed a bruised and wounded pig confined to a tiny metal crate, and two activists held a sign reading, “Walmart tortures pigs” on the grassy median in front of Watertown's Walmart store.

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Mon June 17, 2013
Politics and Government

As end of legislative session looms, no deals yet

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pushing hard for several legislative items, but there are only four days left in the session.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

There are only four days left in the legislative session, and so far no agreements have been reached between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature on major issues like campaign finance reform or a women’s equality act.

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Thu June 13, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo stumps for campaign reform with stop in Syracuse

Gov. Andrew Cuomo visited Syracuse Wednesday to stump for campaign reform.
Ryan Delaney WRVO File

As a recent poll shows his approval rating continuing to slide, Gov. Andrew Cuomo made a trip through upstate New York Wednesday with a stop in Syracuse to push for his newly released campaign reform package.

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Wed June 12, 2013

With just days left, Cuomo rolls out campaign finance reform bill

With just over a week left in the legislative session, Gov. Andrew Cuomo released his bill to extend public financing of political campaigns to statewide races. But he still faces resistance from some factions in the legislature.

Cuomo’s talked of his support for a public campaign finance system for statewide races based on the New York City model, but this is the first time that he’s revealed the details of the actual legislation.

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Tue June 11, 2013


Mon June 10, 2013

Cuomo faces challenges in third legislative term

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's poll numbers have slid as his first term has hits some bumps.
Zack Seward WXXI

Gov. Andrew Cuomo faces perhaps his biggest challenge yet as the end of his third legislative session rapidly approaches. His poll numbers are falling, and his agenda is in danger.

When Cuomo began the session, back in early January, his poll numbers were soaring. His approval rating, following a fall that was spent cleaning up the damage from Hurricane Sandy, was at an almost unheard of 74 percent. A confident Cuomo embarked on an ambitious progressive leaning agenda.

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Mon June 3, 2013

Anti-cancer groups want candy-flavored cigars banned

Audio Pending...

Anti-cancer groups are seeking to ban the sale of fruit and chocolate flavored cigars in New York state that they say are target to children.

The products include chocolate, strawberry and grape flavored cigars, which sell for under a dollar at common convenience stores. Also available on line are gummy bear and cookie dough flavored chewing tobacco and other related products.

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Fri May 3, 2013

Lawmakers consider delaying vote on allowing casinos

Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to bring three casinos to upstate New York.
ChrisYunker via Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders have tried to jump start negotiations over siting several new gambling casinos in New York. But they also conceded that the plans might be delayed for another year.

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Tue April 30, 2013

Schumer calls for curbing of hydrocodone prescriptions

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) speaks about curbing prescriptions of hydrocodone Monday in Syracuse.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

Sen. Charles Schumer is continuing his assault on the misuse of prescription drugs with a proposal to tighten control over the painkiller hydrocodone.

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Mon April 29, 2013

A loose collection of groups makes up state's fracking opposition

New York's anti-fracking movement has been done largely at the grassroots level.
Matt Richmond WSKG

When philosophy professor Mike Gorr and his wife were looking for a place to retire, they took a trip from Illinois to the Finger Lakes region.

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Thu April 25, 2013
The Upstate Economy

Proposed border crossing fee faces bipartisan opposition

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s is proposing a border crossing fee for those traveling into the country from Canada. So far the idea is drawing opposition from representatives across New York state.

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