Regional Coverage

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney vetoed a law this week having to do with a law that outlines when legislators can turn to outside counsel for advice, instead of the county law department.

Mahoney said this move upends the way county government has done business for more than 50 years.

“This is very significant in the placement of a lot of power in county government in the hands of one individual,” said Mahoney.

Syracuse Common Councilors Monday unanimously approved Mayor Ben Walsh’s first city budget.  The $245 million spending plan didn’t stray much from Walsh’s original proposal.

Majority Leader Steven Thompson said aside from some changes in school spending prompted by the state budget, lawmakers agreed to Walsh’s budget blueprint. It is a spending plan that includes an $11 million deficit, something that was an accomplishment for the first-year mayor. Early projections showed the city facing a more than $25 million deficit.

Jamie Henderson / Flickr

A year ago, Lake Ontario began an unprecedented climb that resulted in record water levels and catastrophic flooding for those on its shoreline. The lake's levels are currently 16 inches below where they were in May of 2017, but still eight inches above the long-term average.

Don McCullough / via Flickr

Oswego County's airport will become part of the 50-mile drone corridor project that developers are building in central New York to test the unmanned aerial vehicles.

Erin Meyer / WRVO News

A proposed crematorium at Riverside Cemetery in Scriba has generated some controversy among local residents. The independently-owned nonprofit isn’t making money the way it used to, because people aren't being buried the way they used to. More and more people are opting to be cremated, and the cemetery wants to cash in on that. The source of the controversy? Location.

New York State Court of Appeals

The attorney for the man convicted of kidnapping Heidi Allen from a New Haven convenience store in 1994 argued before New York state's highest court Thursday about why he deserves a new trial.

Keng Susumpow / Flickr

Wegmans is responding to Governor  Andrew Cuomo’s proposal this week to ban single-use plastic bags.

The supermarket chain has some concerns with that concept. Cuomo says that a ban on single-use plastic carryout bags will significantly reduce waste and environmental impacts. 

But Wegmans officials say it’s important to fully understand the impact that the various bagging options would have on the environment. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

New York state's highest court will hear arguments today about whether the man convicted of kidnapping Heidi Allen from a New Haven convenience store in 1994 should get a new trial. It could be the last shot Gary Thibodeau has to overturn his 25 years-to-life sentence.

The Daily Orange YouTube page

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Syracuse University expelled a fraternity over an offensive video that members say was intended as satire, but the controversy is continuing with the emergence of more video simulating a sexual assault of a disabled person.

Christopher Howard / Marquis Studio

Tuesday evening, SUNY Oswego will host a conversation on how the arts and entertainment industry can be more diverse and inclusive, and will feature documentary filmmaker Rita Coburn. The discussion is part of the college's 'Voices of Diversity' speaker series.

Payne R Horning / WRVO News File Photo

The federal government is filing a lawsuit against an Oswego landlord accusing him of severe, pervasive and unwanted sexual harassment against female tenants and potential tenants. It's the second such suit that the property owner is facing.

The justice department lawsuit alleges a longstanding pattern and practice of sexual harassment from landlord Doug Waterbury, who owns about 50 rental properties in Oswego County and the Sterling Renaissance Festival, Sylvan Beach Amusement Park and Santa's Workshop in North Pole.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The North Country will experience additional helicopter traffic over the next week. It's part of a first-of-its kind training exercise that Fort Drum says will better prepare their soldiers for the fight of the future. But Fort Drum and those who represent it in Albany hope the exercise will also demonstrate how important it is to preserve the area that surrounds the base.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

New York state lawmakers have included $40 million dollars in this year's budget to help property owners who are still cleaning up from last year's flooding along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. 

Low fare air carrier Frontier Airlines begins service out of Syracuse’s Hancock International Airport this summer.

Frontier will add two new non-stop destinations to the departure board at Hancock: Denver and Raleigh/Durham. Christina Callahan, Executive Director at Hancock Airport, says this opens up the west in particular, one of the more popular destinations for travelers out of Hancock.

“Not only the direct connection to Denver which is so important, but Denver is Frontier’s hub, and you can connect to any market they serve,” said Callahan.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

As concert goers prepare to head to Onondaga County’s amphitheater for a third season, they’ll find it with a new name. County lawmakers Tuesday agreed to a $1.5 million naming deal, that creates the Saint Joseph’s Health Amphitheater at Lakeview. 

Onondaga County Legislature Chairman Ryan McMahon said after the signs go up, both the county and Live Nation, the concert promotor for what’s been called ‘The Amp’, will each pull in about $700,000.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The new secretary of the U.S. Army made his first visit to Fort Drum Wednesday. Mark Esper, who's  four months into his tenure, says he's making the rounds through the Army's bases to reacquaint himself with the service and develop his own assessments. He praised the 10th Mountain Division during the tour.

syracuselandbank.org

The Greater Syracuse Land Bank is hoping the city of Syracuse comes through with some funding to keep the non-profit agency afloat. 

Land Bank Executive Director Katelyn Wright said without some help, the organization that buys dilapidated tax delinquent city properties with the goal of selling or demolishing them, will be out of savings soon.

“If things keep going the way they’re going, we’ll deplete our fund balance by the first quarter of 2021,” said Wright.

The killings of African American citizens by local police have generated a more broad, national conversation about race and the criminal justice system. This week on the Campbell Conversations, a conversation with Angela Hattery and Earl Smith, two researchers who have written a new book about the systemic racism in the criminal justice system. The book is called Policing Black Bodies: How Black Lives are Surveilled and How to Work for Change. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Immigrants rights advocates in Syracuse have joined a nationwide protest calling on bus companies to stop allowing Border Patrol agents to question passengers about their immigration status. Protesters say this action shines a light on an issue that’s been happening locally for years.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Local Alzheimer's advocates got on a bus early Tuesday morning and headed for Albany to push for more funding for caregivers of those with the deadly brain disease. 

Mary Koenig with the CNY Alzheimer's Association said her father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease four years ago. He lives at home, and his wife is his major caregiver. He has bouts of hallucinations, talking to people who aren’t there. It’s hard for him to get in and out of a chair.  As the disease progresses, Koenig’s biggest fear is that something happens to her mother.

Tom Fazzio / Syracuse University

The city of Syracuse has one of the highest concentrations of poverty in the nation. How does housing discrimination and segregation factor into that? This week on the Campbell Conversations, Grant Reeher talks with Sally Santangelo, Executive Director of CNY Fair Housing. They discuss the many facets of housing discrimination in Syracuse and across central New York.

Interview highlights

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

An attorney representing some survivors of clergy sexual abuse is calling on both the Catholic Diocese of Syracuse and Ogdensburg to release names of all priests accused of abuse.

Veronica Volk / Great Lakes Today

Regulators are working hard to avoid a repeat of last year’s flooding on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. The International Lake Ontario St. Lawrence River Board, which manages water levels, set a record last month for most water pushed downriver in any month since the dam was built in the 1950s. As a result, Lake Ontario levels are below where they were at the same time in 2017. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News (file photo)

By next winter, residents of the city of Syracuse could log on to the internet and find a map with brightly colored lines, telling them the last time a snow plow visited their street. It’s one potential application of ideas springing from the city’s latest hackathon.

Tom Fazzio / Syracuse University

Social activism by prominent athletes, particularly regarding issues that involve race, has taken off in the past year. It's generated comparisons with the activism from the 1960s. This week on the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher talks with Etan Thomas, a social commentator, 11-year NBA veteran and former Syracuse University basketball star. He's written a new book called We Matter: Athletes and Activism.

Interview Highlights

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Fees could be rising for some programs run by the city of Syracuse Parks Department. The last time the City of Syracuse increased fees for Recreation Department programs, George W. Bush was president.

Fort Drum & 10th Mountain Division / Flickr

Fort Drum is northern New York's largest single site employer. 15,110 soldiers and 3,722 civilians work there. Base spending is up and it's had an impact on the surrounding community.

There’s no doubt that Fort Drum remains an economic powerhouse for the North Country.

The base released its annual economic impact statement for 2017 this week. It says its spending impacted the North Country economy to the tune of $1.2 billion. That’s about 3 percent higher the estimated impact in 2016 — and it’s the first time since 2011 that that number has increased.

City of Auburn

Construction is underway on a $10 million Equal Rights Heritage Center in Auburn. The goal of the facility is to highlight New York's history of promoting social and equal rights.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Congress Beer is coming back to Syracuse.

The Haeberle Congress Brewing Company brewed its last batch of Congress in Syracuse in 1962. It had been the longest continuous brewery in Syracuse, but brewing times changed according to Onondaga Historical Association Executive Director Greg Tripoli.

“The local brewers just couldn’t compete with big brewers with refrigerated trucks for shipping. So this was really the end of the small brewers at that time,” said Tripoli.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Hearings begin next month in New York to get input on whether the state should eliminate the tip credit, which allows tipped workers to be paid a lower wage as long as they make the full minimum wage if tips are included. 

But the organization that represents the state’s restaurant owners is building support against the idea.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says reevaluating the tipped wage is a question of compensating servers more fairly. Vanessa Littles who serves patrons at Joey’s, a well-known Italian restaurant in Syracuse, doesn’t agree.

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