Regional Coverage

Payne Horning / WRVO News

A new book from a central New York author details the legacy of a group called the the Oswego County Pioneers, the first organized volunteer search and rescue team created in the state.

Volunteer search and rescue teams may be ubiquitous today, but local historian Jim Farfaglia says that wasn't the case in New York 50 years ago. He says the effort to find missing persons was chaotic.

Michael Davis

Columnist and writer Sean Kirst spent 25 years telling the stories of central New Yorkers for the Syracuse Post-Standard and syracuse.com. Now, he has gathered together a collection of those columns in a book titled, "The Soul of Central New York."

Telling true stories about the people of the region through the craft of journalism is Kirst's life work. WRVO news director Catherine Loper recently interviewed Kirst and asked him about the state of journalism today.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

An $8 million renovation of Onondaga County’s Central Library in downtown Syracuse wrapped up this month. And the facility on South Salina Street has now become more than a place to get books.

A caregiver sits nearby, as three toddlers tumble through a giant penned-in play area on the second floor of the Central Library. There are books galore spread out through the brightly colored space, but also places for kids to stretch their imagination -- a pretend grocery store, a train table, a stage.

Stories for the central New York soul

Dec 23, 2016
Syracuse University Press

If you've read a newspaper in Syracuse in the last 25 years, you probably know the name Sean Kirst. He wrote thousands of columns for the Syracuse Post-Standard and Syracuse.com. Kirst has a new book out which is a collection of some of those columns. He talked about the book with WRVO news director Catherine Loper.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

A move toward federal legislation to create a cancer registry for firefighters is gaining more traction, and Onondaga County lawmakers are the latest to call for a registry.

The county legislature is throwing its support behind creation of a federal list that would keep track of firefighters who get cancer. There has already been research that shows a strong link between firefighting and an increased risk of several cancers. Syracuse firefighter Mike Valenti has been fighting for this registry for three years, as he continues to watch colleagues die.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

About 2,700 families, which include 6,400 children lined up for the Salvation Army’s Christmas Bureau distribution day in downtown Syracuse Monday. Pre-registered low-income families received toys, books and a food basket to help families get through the holiday season. And more and more, the families filing through the OnCenter are from central New York’s growing refugee community.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Thousands of people all over the world are condemning the reported massacre of civilians in Aleppo, Syria, as a cease-fire in the eastern part of the besieged city seems to have fallen apart. And some central New Yorkers are among those raising their voice.

Autistic Syracuse teen gives Rochester another run

Dec 12, 2016
Sasha-Ann Simons / WXXI News

After an experience in Rochester that drew national attention, Syracuse teen Chase Coleman is moving forward by visiting the city again. For the first time since being shoved to the ground during a cross country run in Rochester's Cobb’s Hill Park in October, Chase returned to the area to run once again.

Clarise Coleman, Chase’s mother, said it took some nudging to get him excited about the trip.

Syracuse University

In the aftermath of the 2016 election, many think we are suffering a crisis regarding our ability to converse publicly and remain civil, from the airwaves to the dinner table.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

In Oswego, a massive, rust-covered container ship glided across Lake Ontario Wednesday morning. It eased toward the Port of Oswego and abruptly came to rest after bumping against the dock.

The 24-foot-tall ship was carrying equipment from Germany that will head to a brewery in Rochester. The port is expecting another shipment of similar equipment next year for a brewery in Fulton. Port director Zelko Kirincich wants to see more container ships visit the port because he says it's more cost efficient for businesses that are importing and exporting by ship. 

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The New York state attorney general's office is bringing charges against a village judge in Jefferson County over claims that he used his position to elicit sexual favors from a defendant.

Village of West Carthage Justice Delmar House is facing two felony charges for allegedly reducing a fine for a defendant who appeared before him in exchange for sexual favors. In a statement, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said the 49-year-old also paid a portion of the defendant's fines for additional sexual services. 

Solvejg Wastvedt / WSKG News (File Photo)

 

Anyone who’s looked for a home in Tompkins County knows there’s a housing crunch. A recent study from the county shows there’s not enough. Organizers of an upcoming housing summit hope they’ll find some solutions.

Decision makers from town governments and non-profits and realty groups are scheduled to speak. Martha Robertson, Tompkins County legislator and event organizer, wants people to speak up no matter what their stake is.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Syracuse’s Salvation Army welcomes a new executive director at a time when central New York is taking aim at the issue of chronic poverty.

Linda Lopez has worked in the human services field for more than 30 years in central New York. And she has seen how chronic poverty can be invasive.

Courtesy: Safe Haven Museum

Ruth Gruber died last week at 105. She was an accomplished journalist and humanitarian. But in Oswego she is remembered and celebrated for the role she played when the United States offered safe harbor to 986 European refugees during World War II.

Gruber worked for the department of the interior when she was chosen to escort the mostly Jewish refugees on their voyage to America. They were housed at Fort Ontario in Oswego for the remainder of the war. Eventually, Gruber championed the refugees' fight to gain American citizenship.

Julia Botero / WRVO News

Thousand Island dressing gets its name from the chain of islands straddling northern New York and Canada. At the turn of the century, this region along the St. Lawrence River was a summer destination for the nation’s elite. It was the Gilded Age. The creamy pink salad dressing was all the rage among cooks at the hotels and resorts dotting the river. There are two competing local legends on who first came up with the dressing.

The first story involves a billionaire, true love, an island castle and a steam yacht.

Rescue Mission

Syracuse’s Rescue Mission will be serving hundreds of Thanksgiving meals today to individuals who otherwise might not have one. CEO Alan Thornton says meal preparations started early this morning to feed an estimated 2,000 individuals.

"I think we’re in the vicinity of 1,300 pounds of cooked turkey, 45 trays of stuffing, of potatoes, over 300 pies, more trays of vegetables, lots of cookies. You name it, we’re going to have it,” said Thornton.

Researchers scope Cayuga Lake for invasive plant

Nov 24, 2016
Gabe Altieri / WSKG

In September, a class from Wells College was on Cayuga Lake near Aurora when someone noticed a non-native weed in the water. It was hydrilla, an invasive plant that can cause big problems.

Hillary Lambert with the Cayuga Lake Watershed is trying to figure out how widespread the hydrilla is before the lake gets even colder and freezes.

“If we let hydrilla take control, over several years time, it could make large areas of the shoreline impassable every summer,” she said.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The Salvation Army’s Christmas Bureau in Syracuse is wrapping up registration for this holiday season.

The yearly food and toy giveaway can be a harbinger of the local economy. The number of people signing up for this year’s toy and food giveaway looks to be about the same as last year, according to Salvation Army Executive Director Linda Lopez. And she says that shows her that there are still hundreds of central New York families that need some help getting through the holidays.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Ruth Gruber, who played a key role in helping Oswego’s Fort Ontario harbor nearly 1,000 refugees during World War II, has died. She was an accomplished journalist and humanitarian, but she is most fondly remembered in Oswego for the difference she made in the lives of the refugees she helped save. 

Will disillusioned U.S. voters really move to Canada?

Nov 21, 2016
http://www.cic.gc.ca

The election of Donald Trump has some Americans looking north, perhaps to make a new home in a country removed from Trump's style of Republicanism.

Many said jokingly if Trump were elected they would move to Canada. For some, it's no longer a joke.

"You'll never be my president because I'm moving to Canada!" shouted one woman at a protest.

The declaration was born in anger and frustration, but also reflects what many Americans have been soberly contemplating.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he has directed the New York State Police to create a hate crime investigation unit, in response to a number of racial incidents reported around the state since the presidential election Nov. 8.

"Fliers promoting the KKK were found on parked cars in Patchogue, Long Island. A swastika was discovered on the B Train in Manhattan. In Wellsville, outside of Buffalo, someone painted a swastika surrounded by the words 'Make America White Again'," Cuomo said during a speech at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York City Sunday.

WRVO Public Media

In a Campbell Conversation recorded a couple weeks before the November election, host Grant Reeher sat down with Stanford professor Aliya Saperstein to talk about race and ethnicity in America.  Saperstein has written about how we perceive race and ethnicity in others, and how we view our own race and ethnicity.  The two also discuss inclusion and equality from a longer-term perspective.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

It started last January. Madison County residents would stuff the styrofoam that protects things like appliances or electronics into plastic bags, then toss them into blue trailers in the middle of the county’s landfill.  

According to county recycling coordinator Mary Bartlett, styrofoam takes up a lot of space in landfills, and it’s also unclear whether styrene can somehow seep into groundwater.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Siena Research Institute has released results of a survey that shows just how pervasive cyberbullying  is among teens across upstate New York.

The survey queried teens and their parents from Albany to Buffalo. First, the numbers from the teens who were polled:

Payne Horning / WRVO News

On an overcast afternoon, a graduation ceremony is underway inside the Oneida County Jail, but instead of caps and gowns, the graduates are wearing bright orange jump suits. 

As the inmates glide to the front of the room, they are greeted with diplomas, smiles and piercing stares from several guards who watch their every move. These behavioral improvement courses and high school equivalency education programs at the jail are nothing new. Opening the graduation ceremonies to the media is. 

WWNYTV Facebook

 

The viewers of Channel 7 evening news in Watertown will soon say goodbye to a familiar face on television. For 20 years, WWNY-TV anchor Brian Ashley has delivered the evening news every weeknight. Ashley is moving on to join the Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization as its new leader.

Ashley began his broadcast career in radio while living across the border in Canada, where he's from originally. He moved onto TV in 1994 to host the evening news on Channel 7 alongside his wife, Ann Richter.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

Record-breaking rain along with regular sewage flow was to blame for a burst pipe that dumped millions of gallons of raw sewage into Onondaga Lake late last week.

The 42-inch pipe that broke carries sewage from the Ley Creek Pump Station to Onondaga County’s wastewater treatment plant on the southern shore of Onondaga Lake. According to county officials, the leak was at the top part of the underground pipe very near the railroad crossing of the Onondaga Creek Inlet.

Julia Botero / WRVO News

Families in the military move a lot. On average, a military child will change schools six to nine times before they finish high school. Making new friends and leaving old ones is hard on kids. Enter Sesame Street. Elmo, Cookie Monster and friends are traveling to military basis across the country to help young kids cope with a big move.

Ludovic Bertron / Flickr

Halloween 2016 may be mostly remembered as the year of the creepy clown in upstate New York and across the country. But experts say clown phobia is nothing new.

There’s a word for it -- coulrophobia. That’s the fear of clowns. And this year, it seems to be running rampant with complaints of clown sightings all over central New York. In Syracuse, Utica, and other communities. Just this week, police were called about a clown siting early in the morning near the middle school in Carthage in Jefferson County.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Upstate Medical University officials hope the build out of the Central New York Biotech Accelerator in Syracuse will help define the area as a haven for biotech research and development.

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