Regional Coverage

A Tiny Home for Good

Some very small homes are coming soon to Syracuse’s South Side.

These homes will be small, just a few hundred square feet. Three of them will be able to fit onto a single property lot. But it’s not a way to cope with urban congestion like in some bigger cities, Syracuse doesn’t have that problem. But it does face a shortage of affordable housing.

A Tiny Home for Good and local housing charity Operation Northern Comfort are getting ready to break ground on their first three tiny homes this spring.

Linda Garett / Fort Drum ACUB Program

Fort Drum has grown tremendously over the last decade. There are more soldiers working – and training – on its grounds. Fort Drum planners have been concerned new development just outside the base may come into conflict with that training mission. The base is paying property owners to keep their land undeveloped. A family dairy farm in Rutland, just south of Fort Drum, has struck the largest deal yet.

nysfair.org

State officials begin the master planning process for a new look State Fair next week. Armed with $50 million of state funds from the recently approved state budget, fair officials can get the ball rolling on proposed fair improvements they hope will transform the aging fairgrounds into a premier, multi-use facility.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Volunteer fire departments in central New York are having a difficult time getting enough trucks out of their firehouses.

When a call comes in at night, the Baldwinsville Fire Department is able to roll two trucks from each of its three stations. But district chief Tom Perkins says during the day, when volunteer firefighters are at their day jobs, it’s usually just one, "but they’re not going to be fully staffed."

Perkins says fewer volunteer firefighters in central New York also means departments no longer able to always back each other up during a major call.

nysfair.org

The New York State Fair is having trouble signing acts for the Grandstand Stage this year. Acting Fair Director Troy Waffner says usually by this time of the year, the fair has the lineup for the grandstand pretty much in place. While several big name acts have been announced at Chevy Court, like Nick Jonas and Meghan Trainor, only country singer Eric Church has committed to the grandstand so far. 

A new federal law is allowing disabled Americans a chance to work and earn money without risking losing their government benefits.What's called the ABLE Act is already offering people with disabilities more independence and opportunities.

Michelle Wolfe, of Oneida, works at the Arc of Madison Cortland in Oneida. Before the ABLE Act passed last December, working extra hours and saving some money was a problem.

"I was told I could only have $2,000 in the bank, otherwise, I’d lose everything,” said Wolfe.

Julia Botero / WRVO News

All units at Fort Drum will likely deploy overseas within the next 13 months. That’s according to the military base’s new commanding general, Maj. Gen. Jeffery Bannister. He sat down with local reporters last week to address what’s in store for soldiers stationed at Fort Drum. 

Bannister said the changing nature of the U.S. presence in Iraq and Afghanistan is changing  the way troops are deployed  at Fort Drum.  They will still go to those countries but they will also go to other strategic locations around the world.  

Great Lakes Cruise Company

A luxury cruise ship on its maiden voyage up the St. Lawrence River from Montreal to Chicago will stop in Clayton this May. It will be the first visit there for the MS Saint Laurent. The ship’s new route will bring it to the Thousand Islands village almost a dozen times this summer, each time with as many as 200 people aboard.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Syracuse-area National Guard Reserves are preparing for the worst this week.  Troops are in New Jersey, taking part in drills that mimic manmade and natural disasters.

The full-scale disaster exercise means 180 soldiers with the National Guard’s 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team in Syracuse boarded a military convoy Thursday to head south to take part in the exercises. They joined guard members from across New York and New Jersey.

Jake Gamage / WRVO

There were nearly 50 accidents involving Syracuse public works vehicles this past winter, mostly for minor mishaps.

Despite the difficult weather conditions for much of this winter, the number of accidents for public works crews in the city of Syracuse declined from the winter before.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Toxic chemicals lurk in some of the popular children’s toys purchased in stores in Onondaga County, according to a report released this week by the group Clean and Healthy New York. The group hopes the study will force New York state lawmakers to keep hazards like this out of the state.

Bobbi Chase Wilding, deputy director for Clean and Healthy New York, points an X-Ray Floresance Analyzer at a children’s xylophone, purchased at a local dollar store.  

Solvejg Wastvedt/WSKG News

On the Ithaca College campus, Kyle James has a pretty sweet office. James is vice president of the college's Student Government Association. His view overlooks the quad, where he can see students crossing back and forth between classes. James says lately, there have been some disruptions to life on campus.

“This actually started in 2011 with an exploratory committee about bias on the Ithaca College campus,” he says. “From that they found that microaggressions were a big problem.”

belsondesign.com

Updated, 5:57 p.m.

After conducting a thorough sweep with bomb-sniffing dogs, the New York State Police recommended that Hamilton College fully lift its shelter-in-place order.

Updated, 5:35 p.m.

College officials say canine units are still searching building on the South Campus, which remains locked down. The shelter-in-place order has been lifted for North Campus.

Updated, 3:25 p.m.:

Central New York will need to innovate and come up with new ideas about how to address the needs of its senior population. That was the message of a forum held to discuss how to shape an age-friendly region.

Michael / via Flickr

The ornate metal street lamps that line downtown or some Syracuse city streets aren’t free to keep on. Property owners are supposed to pay the electric bill, but for decades the city has been. Now, city hall wants to change that.

Business districts and neighborhoods in Syracuse that have upgraded or ornamental street lights are in what the city calls "special lighting districts." Problem is, many of them were put in place decades ago and the city either hasn’t been fully collecting those fees, or hasn’t increased them in decades either.

Sasha-Ann Simons / WXXI

Many people with disabilities are limited in their housing options -- not just because of a lack of availability in desirable neighborhoods, but because of outdated standards of accessibility. And that can leave people feeling isolated and segregated.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

A coalition of students, faculty and staff at Syracuse University that held sit-ins and marches on campus last fall continues to organize.   

The group called THE General Body has a list of issues it wants to see addressed. Many are related to the issue that started the movement last fall -- concerns about a loss of support for victims of sexual assault. 

Kulsoom Ijaz, a third-year law school student, says many of the items they are taking to the school’s administration are Title IX issues.

Child abuse numbers are dropping slightly in Onondaga County. But advocates for victims say public awareness is the way to make a real dent in the number of abuse cases.

The McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center in Syracuse has seen a slight decrease the number of children coming through the agency in the last three years -- from 668 in 2012 to 593 last year.  That almost mirrors the drop in abuse hotline calls to Onondaga County – which fell from just over 6,600 in 2-12 to approximately 6,200 last year.

Maureen MacGregor / WXXI

Outside Michelle Fridley's apartment building, mounds of snow line the perimeter of the parking lot. At least the curb ramp on her sidewalk is clear today, though that’s not always the case.

"For a week I was having a really hard time being about to leave here. It wasn't even just the snow. It was -- someone parked in my curb cut."

A youth jobs and high school completion program in Syracuse will be able to continue thanks to a grant in this year’s state budget.

Jubilee Homes has previously been able to run its Youth Build and high school equivalency diploma program with federal grants, but Jubilee’s director Walt Dixie says those dollars have been drying up.

Youth Build is a nationwide program that teaches teens construction job skills; but half of the programs across the country have been defunded.

Julia Botero / WRVO News

It’s the time of year again for tuxedos, long dresses, high heels and  corsages. Prom season is approaching and that means teenagers are thinking about what they’re going to wear.  But buying a tux or dress and accessories to match can get expensive. To help with the high price tag, the Urban Mission thrift store in Watertown is selling donated formal wear.  Its just one thing the non-profit  does to help North Country residents survive on a tight budget. 

Olivia White isn’t totally sure what she’s looking for in a prom dress.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Enhanced enforcement by the Syracuse Police Department this winter, as part of the TRUCE initiative, has led to the arrest of 20 Bricktown and Bootcamp gang members.

Syracuse TRUCE started two years ago, as a collaboration between police and community service organizations with the aim of reducing gun violence in the city.

Julia Botero

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter visited Fort Drum Monday afternoon. The base was the second stop on the secretary’s first domestic trip outside Washington since taking office just over a month ago.

Carter assured a room of 10th Mountain Division soldiers that Fort Drum isn’t going anywhere.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

More information about Interstate 81’s future in downtown Syracuse should be available in the next few days, as state transportation officials will release a new study on the options for the elevated roadway.

How is the Syracuse region doing with the vitality of its wildlife and the health of its outdoor sports industries?  Has the winter had an impact?  And what can be done about the city's growing problem with deer?  On this week's episode of the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher explores those questions with David Figura, the outdoors writer for The Post-Standard and syracuse.com.  They also discuss life for sportspersons post-SAFE Act, and Figura's new book about men dealing with middle age, 

Governor Andrew Cuomo's office

As state budget negotiations continue, one of the proposals that hang in the balance is a plan to bring more Internet access to rural areas of the state.

A majority of homes and businesses in the North Country don’t have access to high-speed Internet. Gov.Andrew Cuomo has pledged to change that by connecting every New Yorker to the Internet by 2019.

Government officials from across the region gathered at Jefferson Community College in Watertown Thursday looking for more information on Cuomo’s New New York Broadband Program.

Ash Carter / via Flickr

The newly-appointed secretary of defense will visit Fort Drum and Syracuse University's veterans institute early next week, WRVO has confirmed.

It will be Secretary Ash Carter's first domestic trip since taking over at the Pentagon, according to Stars and Stripes, which first reported the trip.

Julia Botero / WRVO News

Maj. Gen. Jeffery Bannister has officially become the new commanding general of the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, after a change of command ceremony on post Wednesday. 

Soldiers and a small audience stood at attention as the 10th Mountain Division band honored outgoing commanding general Maj. Gen. Stephen Townsend with ruffles and flourishes and a gun salute.

City of Syracuse / Facebook

As budget discussions in Albany rumble towards a conclusion, supporters of the Rebuild New York Now coalition are pressing their case, that surplus money in the state budget should fix roads and bridges and water systems across the state.  

courtesy Justin Blodgett

During the wartime periods of American history, including the last decade, life in the military could be a career.  With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan officially over, and with troop cuts looming, the Army is sending soldiers a message - start thinking about your civilian life.

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