Regional Coverage

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

An elevated museum of sorts, bike trails, a blooming bridge, an outdoor ice skating park. Those are all some of the ideas that have been submitted to the “Elevating Erie” competition, focused on revamping Erie Boulevard East in Onondaga County. Now it’s time for the public to weigh in on potential projects that could turn six drab lanes of traffic into an historic and recreational destination.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The Syracuse Fire Department has confirmed six people died in a fire that started early Friday morning on  the city's north side.

Officials said eight people lived in the home. A 33-year-old male was not home at the time of the fire. A 32-year-old woman was home when the fire started but was able to get out. She was taken to a hospital. A seven-year-old girl died as well as three boys ages 10, 12, and 13. A 33-year-old man and a 34-year-old man also died in the fire. Two of the bodies were found downstairs and four were found upstairs.

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.

Often overlooked in considerations of the anti-nuclear movement are the distinctive contributions of activists of color.  In this week’s edition of the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher talks with Montgomery College professor Vincent Intondi, the author of the book "African Americans Against the Bomb: Nuclear Weapons, Colonialism, and the Black Freedom Movement".  They discuss the ways that Black anti-nuclear activism intersected with other important strains of Black activism and Black freedom m

Meesh / Flickr

Syracuse is getting some federal funds that will help youth transition from the criminal system back into society.

Twenty-four-year-old David Lefler was in and out of the Jamesville Correctional Facility for several years. He says it was hard to stay out of trouble once jail became a way of life.

"If you really don’t care, then it’s just going to keep happening,” Lefler says. “You’re going to hang out with the wrong person, and next thing you know you’re in a car with a bag of dope and you’re going to jail.”

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The walls are up on the first tiny homes in Syracuse. And they will be used in the fight against homelessness.

Volunteers erected walls on two 300 square foot tiny homes in a low income neighborhood on the city’s south side. The roof and indoor work comes next, and Tiny Homes for Good executive director Andrew Lunetta expects the first residents to move in by the end of May.

"So you walk in, and have a full Murphy bed. There will be a walled-off bathroom and a small kitchenette."

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The Erie Canal Corridor in upstate New York is getting a boost from some federal dollars.

Federal funds from the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor will go to 10 education and preservation projects from the Albany area to Buffalo. The $44,000 in grants will leverage an additional $165,000 in private funds to create teachers guides, murals, and historical markers.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Local police agencies have a new foe in the fight against opioid addiction -- the synthetic drug fentanyl. It started showing up on central New York streets just over a year ago. Fentanyl, mostly mixed with heroin, but sometimes on i’s own, being sold to opioid users. 

A think tank out of Albany has analyzed census data that show the number of New Yorkers has increased by 2.2 percent over the last five years, a jump of almost 418,000 people. But population growth in the New York City metro area makes up for the regional trend in upstate New York, where statistics show the area losing thousands of residents between 2010 and 2015.
 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Ryan Lawrence, the Syracuse man accused of murdering his 21-month-old daughter Maddox Lawrence last month, was denied bail at his arraignment Wednesday after being indicted on first-degree murder and kidnapping charges. 

Satsuma61 / Flickr

The millennial generation will save us all, according to a couple of Le Moyne graduates who have authored books on the subject. The pair brought their perspective to Syracuse this week.

Julia Botero / WRVO news

Watertown celebrated St. Patrick’s Day a little early this year with a beard contest at their annual Irish Festival last weekend. But he competition begins before that. On January 1, men come to Watertown for a clean shave. They have until the Irish festival in mid-March to grow the fullest, longest beard they can.  WRVO's Julia Botero went to the  Donegal Beard Competition in Watertown to see the winner. 

In tax season, watch out for scams

Mar 16, 2016
WBFO News File Photo

Across the nation, it’s tax season - time to take a look at W-2s, bank statements, and all the other aspects of your financial life. It’s also a time when trustworthiness is especially important.

New York Western District U.S. Attorney William Hochul, Jr. said one of the best defenses against problems at tax time is going to a legitimate tax preparer. He said citizens should be able to trust such professionals, but should also be on the lookout for a particular warning sign.

New York State Public Service Commission

New York officials have been trying to stall the need for a new area code for years by trying to make existing numbers last and getting some digits back, but demand outpaced those efforts. Now, they are beginning to implement a new area code in 18 central and northern New York counties, from St. Lawrence to Chenango and Ontario to Hamilton counties.

But Scott Morris, a senior adviser with the land line and broadband provider Windstream, said there's no need to panic.

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan Gibson says they are improving operations at their crisis hotline in Canandaigua.

A report issued by the inspector general earlier this month documented almost two dozen cases of veterans calling the VA's crisis hotline and getting a voicemail message.

Deputy Secretary Sloan says the IG's data is outdated, that it does not include their most recent improvements and adjustments, and that it undermines the hard work of the center's staff.

As posted on the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Facebook page

The remaining soldiers on lockdown at Fort Drum were allowed to go home Thursday evening for the first time in almost a week.

Post officials had barred over 500 soldiers from leaving their offices on Friday evening when an inventory revealed a piece of Army equipment was missing. 

The night vision device still hasn’t been found.

Military police will continue their investigation into exactly when the combat and training item disappeared. It’s worth between $2,000 and $3,000  dollars.

More than a hundred Fort Drum soldiers have been barred from going home since Friday when a post official discovered a piece of Army equipment was missing. Soldiers have been kept on post for six days now.

The missing item is a night vision device used in combat and training missions. Its worth between $2,000 and $3,000.

Julie Halpin, a spokesperson with Fort Drum, says military police are looking into when and how it disappeared.

www.co.oswego.ny.us

A judge has denied a request for a new trial in the 20-year-old Heidi Allen disappearance case.

The man who was convicted of kidnapping her from a New Haven convenience store, Gary Thibodeau, claims that new evidence has surfaced since the original trial that exonerates him. But, more than a year after the hearing for a new trial began, the judge denied the request.

His attorney, Lisa Peebles, said the ruling is disappointing but expected.

Last week, Campbell Conversation host Grant Reeher spoke with former Congressman Jim Walsh and CenterStateCEO President Rob Simpson about the Commission on Local Government Modernization’s Consensus Report regarding government consolidation.  Their conversation continues this week, with a focus on the objections that have been raised about the report’s recommendations, and how those recommendations might impact taxes, schools, and other important aspects of life in Central N

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Home health care agencies are the latest group to come out against Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

The Association of Health Care providers, which represents around 350 home health care agencies across New York, says many of its members can’t afford to pay workers $15 an hour, which represents around a one-third increase to the current average pay of between $10 and $11.50 hour. The group says the state should help by upping Medicaid allotments so that people won’t lose their home care services.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Residents of Onondaga County will have more time to have their say about reorganizing local government. There have been calls for more time to look at an 80-page report that includes 51 recommendations for changing the way government works in central New York.

The deadline for public comment had been March 16. But Friday morning, Consensus CNY extended the comment period by six weeks, to May 1.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

A new Interstate 81 isn’t the only change in central New York’s transportation system  on the horizon.  The Syracuse Metropolitan Area Regional Transportation Council has started looking at the feasibility of light rail or bus rapid transit along certain corridors in Syracuse.

Council Director Jim D’Agostino says the Syracuse Metropolitan Area Regional Transit Study, or SMART, actually grew out of the Interstate 81 discussion.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney says the recent lawsuit between the city of Syracuse and the developers of the Inner Harbor project hurts Central New York. The city sued COR Development after COR went to the Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency for tax breaks on the project. The city said the developer agree to not seek tax breaks from the county. But earlier this week, a judge dismissed the suit, saying there was no proof of an agreement.

Mahoney says ultimately litigation like this, sends a negative message to anyone that wants to do business in Syracuse.

Syracuse Police Department

Twenty-four-year-old Ryan Lawrence, accused of killing his 21-month-old daughter Maddox, pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder charges in Syracuse City Court Wednesday.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The father of a 21-month-old girl who went missing in Syracuse is now being charged with her death. A 911 call and an Amber Alert assisted police in the investigation.

Syracuse Police Department

Updated at 3:40 p.m. Tuesday

Twenty-one-month-old Maddox Lawrence, missing since late Saturday, was found dead in Syracuse's Inner Harbor Tuesday, Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler said during a news conference. Lawrence's father, 24-year-old Ryan Lawrence, has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with Maddox's death.

It’s called the Consensus Report, but so far it’s generating anything but.  This week on the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher talks with two contributors to the Commission on Local Government Modernization’s report. Commission co-chair and former Congressman Jim Walsh, and CenterStateCEO President Rob Simpson. This is the first of a two-part series, and this week the focus is on the problems with the region’s current government structure, and the process for moving forward based on the Commission’s Report.

Syracuse police have issued an AMBER Alert as they continue to search for a 21-month-old girl who may have been taken by her custodial father. 

Fort Drum Mountain Community Homes

There’s a glut of housing in towns surrounding Fort Drum. With thousands of troops deployed, many houses and apartment complexes in the area are empty, including the homes on base. Now, housing on Fort Drum is available to all civilians, even those who don’t work on post.  Anyone who passes a background check is welcomed to rent a home on Fort Drum.

Joe McLaughlin is working on his sales pitch. For a thousand dollars a month, he says you can get a 2-bedroom house with an attached garage, electricity and heat included.

As New York state prepares to restore the former New York Central train platform next to Interstate 690 in Syracuse, arts enthusiasts want to ensure that the public art on that platform, stays.

They’ve been waiting for the night train for over 30 years. White statues that mimic passengers on a crumbling train platform. They have no faces, these ghostlike commuters, with only a splash of color when red scarves mysteriously appear around their necks every winter, reminding passersby of a time when trains and not cars carried most central New Yorkers in and out of Syracuse.    

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